Hot Start Pushes Cats To Victory
Darren Doyle, story: Moriah Peterson, photos:
Junior center Eli Booker scored a career-high 21 points in a physical match against Butler County Friday night that helped Edmonson County to a big 72-65 District 12 win in front of a full gym in Brownsville.
Booker's 10 first-quarter points helped the Cats off to a hot 21-12 start, but the Bears certainly didn't intend to make a quick exit. They bounced back with a 17-13 run in the second to cut Edmonson's lead to 34-29 at halftime.
Patience on the offensive end and low turnovers helped the Wildcats limit runs from Butler County in the second half as Booker, Dalton Decker, and Nick Clemmons provided fire power against their cross-county rival.
It was also a special night for former team members of the 1973, 74, and 75 Wildcat Basketball teams--the only teams to win back-to-back-to-back district championships, and the only Edmonson County boys basketball team to ever repeat as district champs. Team members, cheerleaders, coaches, and managers were recognized at halftime and a plaque was accepted by former assistant coach Gerald Meredith on behalf of the late Coach Dave Denton.
Denton's coaching and the teams' successes were said to have led to building of the legendary 1976 State Championship team. The rivalry between Edmonson and Butler County during those times was so great that games between the two teams had to be played in a sold-out Diddle Arena. The group received a standing ovation from the home crowd.
In addition to Booker's 21, Decker added 18, Clemmons had 12, Mason Pierce scored 9, Chaz Wilson added 6, Trent Taylor scored 4, and Griffin Spainhoward scored 2.
Coach Mike McClintic discussed the Wildcat effort and the second consecutive game with 11 turnovers--tying a season low.
"I'm really proud of them," he said. "They came out and did what we practiced. Butler's a heckuva team. We don't match up real well with them as far as man-to-man, but we made some adjustments and the kids did a real good job. I could tell at halftime that after they made that little run at us that we were getting a little tight. But I thought we came out the second half, established ourselves again, and we went from there."
After off days on Saturday and Sunday for the Wildcats, they'll prepare for another District 12 match against Trinity on the road on Wednesday, a game which has been rescheduled twice due to inclement weather. They are also scheduled to play at Grayson County on Friday, another district game.
"You know I'm really happy for the kids. Eli played great. We were getting him the ball where he could do a lot of damage."
Edmonson County is now 9-11 on the season.