Darren Doyle, story: Madison Doyle, Alyssa Doyle, photos:
The drought of no district championship titles in 24 years for ECHS is finally over as the Edmonson County Wildcats defeated the Butler County Bears 81-64 in Morgantown tonight for the 2017 Championship Title.
The Wildcats executed their pregame plan nearly to perfection as their stellar defense, hustle, will, and determination made the victory possible.
Daniel Caudill hit a three pointer to start the game and the Wildcats never trailed again.
"I think we played four quarters about as best as any we've ever played," said Assistant Coach Bart Weaver.
Edmonson County out rebounded the Bears 36-22, shot 63% from the field, compared to Butler's 43%, and won the free throw battle as well. They were only one point away from having all five starters in double figures.
Coach Mike McClintic said the team had a great practice on Thursday and he felt the guys were relaxed enough to enjoy the moment, but serious enough to take care of business.
"The guys were really up, really loose," said Coach Mac. "Monday was different. It was very tight and very quiet. But yesterday, it was back to the old Edmonson County Wildcats."
Whatever the 'old Edmonson County Wildcats' are, Cat fans hope that it's the bunch that hangs around.
While a united team effort was key, Bailey Board led the offense with 22 points and 10 rebounds. He was 8/12 from the field and 6/7 from the FT line.
Daniel Caudill had 15 points, Caleb Skaggs had 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists. Iszic Blankenship had 12 points and 10 rebounds and Tucker Cole had 9 points.
Both J.T. Vincent and Logan Lindsey provided quality minutes off the bench as Vincent put in 6 and Lindsey added 4.
The Wildcats found success in a 1-1-3 zone, which only works if all 5 guys stay very active, with the two top defenders running in almost an "x" motion back and forth around the perimeter. It's very physically demanding and not commonly used.
"We hadn't played this defense before, but we had been working on it," said Weaver. "It helped us cover shooters better and Butler hadn't seen it. It bothered them a lot and I think our defense did win this game."
He also talked about the joy of cutting down the nets after the game.
"It's awesome. I've talked to so many ex-players we've had over the last 10 years and it's all for them, too. It's for you (DD), it's for anybody that's ever played here. It's remarkable that we're celebrating this tonight with some that we didn't get to do this with. You know, our kids did a good job tonight. They listened to us, they had to improvise a little bit, but they just did a great job."
It's the first time since 1993 that Edmonson County has won a district title. The Wildcats were escorted out of Butler County by the Voicemobile and received a police escort when they reached the county line. Lights, sirens, and horns were loud and bright as the Wildcats were greeted by crowds of people waiting on the square as the Edmonson County Pep Band played while the bus took a lap around the courthouse square.
Edmonson County is now 19-10 on the season and will draw on Saturday for their match in the first round of the Region 3 Tournament, scheduled for next week in Owensboro.