Darren Doyle, story: Madison Doyle, photos:
Basketball fans got their money's worth yesterday at the Rafferty's/Double Dog's Caveland Classic in the Edmonson County - Clinton County titanic struggle that saw a back-and-forth battle that included players shouting at players, fans shouting at fans, coaches shouting at coaches, and a deputy shouting at everyone.
Clinton County (10-4 on the season) controlled the first half with a strong offensive presence in the paint, taking a 29-24 lead at the half.
The Bulldogs momentum began to build at times during the third, but key plays from junior J.T. Vincent and Daniel Caudill kept things from getting away from Edmonson County. That momentum shifted mightily in the third in favor of the Wildcats as the Bulldogs began to inbound the ball with 2:23 left.
Things got heated as Wildcat Daniel Caudill established defensive position on the Bulldog's inbound play. He was face-guarding his man with close chest-to-chest contact as another Bulldog tried to squeeze in between them in a space where a piece of paper wouldn't have fit.
Caudill, who was strong enough to hold his ground and not be pushed out of the way, simply stayed put with his hands up in the air as two Bulldogs kept shoving, one hanging on to his jersey as the Edmonson County coaches tried to signal the officials.
The refs separated the players but the tension was still high as fans from both sides began to shout at each other. As the ball was inbounded, Caudill simply stopped holding his ground and allowed the Bulldog players to level him, as he drew the foul away from the ball.
Bailey Board schooled the Bulldogs on a crossover dribble-drive to the basket as he made an off-balance shot while drawing the foul with 1:01 left in the third. The bucket made the score 41-36 in favor of the Bulldogs when the Clinton County coaching staff began to shout at the Edmonson County players.
In what nearly everyone in the gym saw as a classless and unprofessional move, Clinton County's head coach escalated the issue by coming past the halfway mark at the scorer's table shouting at Wildcat Coach Mike McClintic. Officials quickly jumped in and Edmonson County Sheriff's Deputy and School Resource Officer Jeff Brooks took to the floor as he ordered everyone back to their benches. Board nailed the free throw to cut the Bulldog lead to 4 and the energy shifted again in favor of the Wildcats.
The Wildcats trailed 40-44 as the fourth quarter began but that deficit was cut when Daniel Caudill busted a huge three pointer to make the score 44-43. The Bulldogs drew a foul on their next possession but missed both free throws. On a dynamite pass from Caudill, J.T. Vincent made an impressive spin move to the basket and scored, giving the Wildcats their first lead of the game, 45-44, with 6:50 left.
The lead would change 8 different times over the next five minutes when Bailey Board's free throws tied things up at 55-55 with 1:35 to go.
Clinton County scored on the next possession but those points were matched by Bailey Board on the other end to even things up at 57 all.
With :36 seconds left in the game, Clinton County drew a foul and went to the line for a 1 and 1. They hit the first shot for a 58-57 lead, but missed the second as the Wildcats rebounded and pushed the ball up the court. Caleb Skaggs hit an off-balance shot in the paint to give the Cats a 59-58 lead with only :16 seconds to go. It would be all that the Wildcats needed as they held on to win.
Coach Bart Weaver was smiling ear-to-ear during his post game interview.
"It was a war, a battle," he said. "We knew it was going to be tough and we knew that going into it. Just a great win for us. I could talk for an hour about all our kids tonight, but we really had some that stepped up off the bench like J.T. Vincent and Brayden Carey, they played guts-out ball."
Bailey Board led the Cats with 18 points and 5 rebounds while three other Wildcats ended up in double figures, including Blankenship, Skaggs, and Caudill with 10 each. Vincent finished with 8 and Carey added 3.
The Wildcats are now 4-6 on the season and are scheduled to take on Barren County today in the final game of the Caveland Classic with tip off at 7:15.
The WildcatsLive pregame show will start around 7pm on EdmonsonVoice.com.