Second Half Comeback Not Enough As Cats Fall In District Match
Darren Doyle, story: Madison Doyle, photos:
A rough start by the Wildcats was too much tough to overcome in a 62-59 loss to the Trinity Raiders on homecoming night, despite a valiant comeback effort in the second half that had Edmonson County fans biting their nails at the final buzzer.
Edmonson County struggled with early turnovers--8 in the first quarter--that resulted in a 10-0 start for the Raiders. The Cats finally got a little offense going, but trailed 18-10 after one.
Second chance opportunities allowed Trinity to extend their lead in the second quarter and the Wildcats trailed 38-22 at the half.
The second half effort by Edmonson County was second to none, led by junior Mason Pierce, who scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half. Pierce's push helped shift the momentum back towards the Cats as they outscored the Raiders 18-8 in the third quarter and cut the lead to 46-40.
Another 10-6 run by the Wildcats to start the fourth quarter cut the Raider lead to 52-50 as Griffin Spainhoward drove the baseline with a basket, forcing a Trinity timeout with 5:27 left in the game. That lead was cut again as Dalton Decker buried a three with 3:05 to go as the Wildcats trailed 58-57.
Two very physical plays that resulted in Wildcats hitting the deck failed to get a foul call as Edmonson fans were scratching their heads with just over two minutes to go; however, Trinity was able to draw a foul on the other end with 1:46 remaining. They missed the front end of the bonus and the Wildcats took possession as the ball was knocked out of bounds.
A miscue from the Cats allowed Trinity to regain possession on a turnover and draw another foul. After two made free throws from Trinity, the lead was extended to 60-57, and yet another turnover by Edmonson County resulted in the same, with the Raider lead 62-57 with :55 seconds to go. Chaz Wilson scored on a basket with :40 seconds left to inch closer at 62-59.
Edmonson County would still have an opportunity to extend the game after two missed free throws from the Raiders. The Wildcats had the ball with 10.8 seconds to go. Nick Clemmons' three point attempt missed but Chaz Wilson grabbed the rebound. Wilson dished back out to Clemmons again, but another three-point attempt rattled in and out. Dalton Decker was able to tip the ball, but it missed at the buzzer as Edmonson County fell.
Coach Mac discussed the effort from the Wildcats that was almost an amazing comeback.
"They took my challenge at halftime, went out in the second half and played as hard as they could," he said. "We had some costly turnovers at some bad times and a couple of defensive breakdowns, but I'm extremely proud of the way they came out in the second half."
McClintic said while the will of his team in the second half is a positive, it's still a tough district loss where turnovers--once again--hurt them. Coach Mac said getting behind early to a good team like Trinity usually doesn't end well, despite the comeback attempt.
"Those turnovers led to some points for Trinity but every kid that got in the game and the bench, they stayed up. Yes, I was a little heated at halftime and I had to challenge them. They accepted my challenge and they came out here and done it."
Four different Wildcats landed in double figures. In addition to Pierce, Dalton Decker had 12, Chaz Wilson had 11 points and 12 rebounds, Clemmons added 10, Trent Taylor had 4, Eli Bookier had 3, and Griffin Spainhoward and Jon Smith added two each.
The Wildcats fall to 6-9 on the season and are 1-2 in district 12 play. Their next game is scheduled for Monday, January 7th at Thomas Nelson for a varsity-only match with tip set for 8pm.