Darren Doyle, story- Jerika Simon, photos
If you've ever played on an organized basketball team at any level, chances are you've pretended that the fate of the game lies in your hands with only seconds remaining. You've pretended that the pass comes to you and you heave up a prayer that goes in, you're the hero, and a celebration ensues.
It's also the way the last 3.1 seconds went in the Edmonson County-Barren County game Wednesday night at ECHS in the final game of the Rafferty's Double Dog's Caveland Classic, but instead of the hero being you, it was senior guard Daniel Caudill.
Caudill, known more for being an honorable mention all-state football player, was the man of the hour in Brownsville as he nailed a miraculous, half-court shot that he banked off the glass as time expired to give the Wildcats a crushing 57-55 win over Barren County.
Caudill said coming out of the final timeout, he was confident he could make a final shot.
"I told Tucker, I haven't really missed a shot tonight. Gimme the ball, I'm going to hit it, no matter what, I'm going to hit this," he said, still smiling. "I threw one up with a little more loft on it and it banked in. I've had a lot of awesome moments on the football field, but this is one of the most enjoyable moments I've ever had."
Barren County led the majority of the game until 7:10 left in the game when junior Logan Lindsey nailed a three-pointer to give the Wildcats a 42-41 lead. The Wildcats gave up the lead on the next possession on a Barren County basket, but Lindsey struck again with another three at the 6 minute mark.
The Wildcats extended their lead to 54-46 with 4:11 to go, but a couple of Wildcat fouls put Barren County at the free throw line twice where they cut the Edmonson County lead back to 54-50.
After a missed EC free throw on the next Wildcat possession, Barren scored on an easy bucket and cut the lead 54-52. The Wildcats threw the ball away on the next play and Bailey Board was called for his fifth foul as Barren County drove to the basket. They hit one of two shots to cut Edmonson County's lead to 54-53 with a minute and a half to go.
Edmonson County rebounded and played keep away from the Trojans for several seconds, but a questionable foul was called on Iszic Blankenship away from the ball with :40 seconds left.
Barren County ran the clock down to :18.6 and called timeout. After a missed shot and scuffle for the ball, the Trojans got the ball back as it bounced out of bounds, last touched by Daniel Caudill with 7.2 seconds left.
With 3.1 seconds left, it appeared as though Caudill blocked Barren County's Coomer, but was called for the foul, putting Coomer at the line for a chance to go ahead. After a series of timeouts, Coomer iced both, making the score 55-54 and giving Barren County their first lead since the beginning of the 4th quarter.
Edmonson County called timeout to setup a final play that would require them to go the length of the floor. After getting set, Barren called a timeout of their own to combat the Wildcat play, which Edmonson County changed.
With :3.2 left, Tucker Cole inbounded the ball to Caudill who bobbled the pass just past Barren's three point line and he was forced to throw up a 50 foot prayer from behind the half-court line that banked in, winning the game for the Wildcats.
Assistant coach Bart Weaver was one of the many folks in the building struggling for words after the win.
"It's unbelievable man, I mean we had two timeouts and we drew up two different plays, and I can tell you, that wasn't one of them," he said with a big laugh. "For us, just a great ending, for them, (Barren County) a terrible ending. It was nip-and-tuck the whole game."
Weaver told a great story about how Daniel's freshman team was defeated on long buzzer beater by Warren East three years ago. He said ever since that time, Caudill has jokingly "practiced" his half-court shot, always reminding the coaching staff by saying, "Hey coach, Warren East!"
"We'd fuss at him and ask, 'yeah, but how many of them are you gonna get in a game, Daniel?,' well, I guess it paid off, because there's one..."
Weaver said they guys would take a day off then ease back into basketball activities this weekend.
The Wildcat box score was Caudill 16, Lindsey 13, Skaggs 12, Board 7, Cole 5, Blankenship 4.
The Wildcats are now 5-6 on the season and are scheduled to begin district play on Tuesday on the road at Butler County in a girl/boy doubleheader. We'll bring you the action live on WildcatsLive, only on EdmonsonVoice.com with the pre-game show starting around 5:50pm.