Four Wildcats in Double Figures
Darren Doyle, story:
It was a thrilling win for the Wildcats on Friday night at ECHS where Edmonson County topped their District 12 foes, The Butler County Bears 65-59 in overtime.
With the Wildcats trailing 52-54, junior guard Trace Taylor tipped-in a missed three-point attempt from senior Jon Smith with 8 seconds to go in the 4th quarter. Butler County was forced to throw up a prayer at the buzzer that was an air ball, which led to overtime.
The Wildcats went into the game knowing that Butler County would be a well-balanced team that would be crashing the boards, would be defensively sound, and could shoot from the perimeter. They also knew effort from the Bears would be top-notch. Their plan was to out-do them in all of that, and their plan worked.
Edmonson County got off to a dandy start, forcing a Butler County timeout leading 12-3. The Bears connected on some early threes to try to work their way back in but the Cats led 17-10 after the first quarter. Jon Smith paced the Wildcats with 12 of his 19 team-high points coming in the first.
The start of the second quarter looked much like the first with the Cats forcing a second Bears timeout, leading 25-13 with 5:14 left in the half. Edmonson County led as much as 14 in the quarter before the Bears cut the Wildcat lead to 29-21 at halftime.
Some timely turnovers from the Wildcats and easy baskets missed allowed Butler County to build some momentum early in the third quarter and cut their deficit to only 2 with 5:47 left in the quarter. The Wildcats put together a 9-2 run to keep a 40-32 lead as the fourth quarter began, thanks to 7 points and an assist from senior Chaz Wilson during the final 2 and a half minutes of the third.
Butler County then went on a 9-2 run of their own to cut Edmonson's lead to only 1 with just over 5 minutes to go in regulation. The Bears then tied it at 43 and the Wildcats turned it over on the next possession, giving Butler County an easy layup for the first Bears lead since the score was 3-2 in the first minute of the ballgame. Edmonson trailed 47-44 when senior Gavin Rose connected on a three with 2:47 to go to tie the score.
It would be Rose again with a three, this time with 50 seconds left in the game and the Cats trailing by 2. His big basket would put Edmonson back on top, 52-51. Butler County scored on their next possession to regain the lead 53-52, and with three more fouls to give, the Wildcats put them to use to control the clock. They forced the Bears to the line where Solomon Flener with one out of two shots. The Bears led 54-52 with 17 seconds left, which would bring on the final offensive play for the Wildcats in regulation. Taylor's offensive tip tied the score, forcing the overtime.
Edmonson County never trailed during the overtime and outscored the Bears 9-5 during the period. Jon Smith's three point attempt rattled around and fell in with 1:30, which would prove to be huge. Butler County came within one point, but some key free throws by Rose and Taylor and a turnover in the final seconds from the Bears sealed the fate of Butler County.
"This is our district, this is us, Butler, Grayson, Trinity," said Coach Mike McClintic. "This is the way our games are going to be all year. The kids that got in the game did everything we wanted them to do. I thought we didn't rebound as good in the third and fourth quarters as we did in the first half, and that hurt us. And we had some costly turnovers in the fourth, but the kids battled back and I can't ask any more from them, I mean, good grief."
The Cats had four players in double figures as Jon Smith led the Cats with 19 points and 9 rebounds on (4 threes), Trace Taylor had 17 points, Chaz Wilson had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Gavin Rose had 10 points.
Also scoring for the Cats were Lane Lindsey with 2 points and 5 rebounds and Isaiah Johnson added 2 points.
The Wildcats are now 4-2 on the season and 2-1 in district play. They are scheduled to travel to Hart County on Tuesday for a JV/V match and then a District 12 rematch against Grayson County as the Cougars travel to ECHS next Friday.