Darren Doyle, story: Madison Doyle, photos:
The Wildcats looked as if they were going to be run out of their own gym last night against heated rival Grayson County, as they began with an horrific 15-2 start in the first quarter. Edmonson County tried a zone defense early in the game against the Cougars that was useless in stopping Grayson County's untouchable three-point shooting early on.
The Wildcats hadn't played a game in nine days thanks to some winter weather while the Cougars had played twice in the same span. Coach Mac said the delay of games would either help the Cats by allowing them to be a little more fresh, or hurt them by causing them to be rusty.
During the first quarter, Wildcat fans saw no sign of anything fresh except additional numbers being added to Grayson County's score.
Assistant coach Bart Weaver said that's when the game plan had to change and the Wildcats went to an in-your-face, man-to-man defense that would eventually allow them to claw their way out of things.
"If you'd have told me we were going to play three quarters of man-to-man defense against Grayson in a win, I'd have told you you were were crazy," Weaver said with a laugh. "We've not played much man and it showed early. We made some adjustments at halftime and it got better. What a ballgame...what a ballgame."
Edmonson County's defense helped cool off the hot shooting of the Cougars while they did what their coaching staff has preached all year--got things done in a blue collar-style. They began to take care of the ball, they muscled their way into the paint for rebounds, and they ended up scoring 79% of their total points in the paint.
They cut the Cougar lead to 25-20 at the half and kept chipping away as their deficit was sliced again to 36-34 to begin the fourth.
Caleb Skaggs led the way in the final quarter, scoring 7 of his 11 points in the fourth, none bigger than a huge three pointer to cap off a 9-0 run with 1:16 left to go in the ballgame.
The Cougars made a final push with a 5-0 run of their own, but Edmonson County held them off for the big 51-49 district win.
No single Wildcat impressed with individual stats, but a team effort from everyone was the highlight of the game.
"It's the way we have to play," Weaver said. "We were afraid that where we switched to a different man offense that it would take us out of a 'team look,' because we thought we could penetrate a lot. So we emphasized not to get away from 'team,' but tried to get around them (Cougar defense), if you've got the drive, drive it, if not, kick, then look for Stick (Blankenship) inside. They did a good job of that. It was just a tough, tough, ballgame."
Skaggs, Bailey Board, and Daniel Caudill each had 11 points while Tucker Cole added 8, and Iszic Blankenship added 6 points and 10 rebounds. Logan Lindsey finished with 4.
The Cats outrebounded the Cougars 23-19 while only having 9 turnovers.
Edmonson County is now 7-6 on the season and are 2-0 in the district 12 standings. They are scheduled to take on Trinity tonight at Cloverport in the All A Classic tournament with an 8pm tip off.