Darren Doyle, story and photos
The Lady Cats came out with great hustle and intensity to set the early pace for last night's game against the Logan County Lady Cougars, as they won their home and season opener 66-57.
Season openers are always emotional, and this one was turned up a notch without Head Coach Kevin Jackson in the gym. Jackson served the first game of a three-game suspension for being ejected in a scrimmage at Adair last week.
"We won that game for Coach Jackson," said senior Jhonna Basil. "We knew it was killing him not being able to be there and that win was for him."
Basil scored 15 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in the contest.
Senior Center Tori Browning said much of the same. "He was fighting for us and we wanted to fight back and win that one for him," she said. "I thought we came out with a lot of energy in the first half and that helped us. I felt that we played better defensively as well. They were a really tall team, but we defended them well."
ECHS was able to gather a comfortable 21 point lead at halftime, but Logan County wasn't ready to start the bus just yet as they whittled their way back into the game, cutting the deficit to just 6 points with about 3 minutes to go in the game.
"I thought during the first half we were really energized," said Coach Barry Booth. "In the third quarter we kinda gave out a little, we're not real deep," he said. "When Logan County started making that run, we made a few mistakes, but gosh-dog, we got four sophomores, so we're going to make a few mistakes, but that's a great win against a really good basketball team."
Sophomore Caitlin Simon led the way for the Lady Cats with 22 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and made 10 of 12 from the free throw line.
"I think we were all really nervous and sad that Coach Jackson couldn't be there with us last night and it wasn't for a good reason," Simon said. "That made us want to get the win for him even more."
Simon noted that Coach Jackson wrote a message on the dry erase board in the locker room that she said really fired the team up. "I'm just proud of my team last night, we all stepped up and played together and supported each other."
Also helping in the cause was sophomore guard Peyton Martin who added 13 points and 5 assists. "I don't think we could have played anymore as a team last night," Martin said. "I know there was a lot of pressure on Coach Booth, but he kept us focused." She also said that as soon as the game ended, Jackson texted all the girls and congratulated them on the win, before they had even changed out of their jerseys.
Senior Racheal Duncan nailed three 3-pointers, with a total of 9 points, Katlin Collins added 4, Senior Madelyne Taylor added 2 and Senior Tori Browning added one point.
The Lady Cats will travel to Warren East for their next game on Thursday, December 3rd, but the game will not be featured on the WildcatsLive broadcast.
The ECHS boys will open their season tonight against Breckinridge County at home. JV game is scheduled for a 5:30pm tip-off.