Edmonson Wins Over Cardinals 62-52
Darren Doyle, story: Madison Doyle, photos:
Several questions surrounding a new season's Edmonson County Wildcats were answered last night as the Cats opened up the 2021-22 season at home against Nelson County.
Can they win? Yes. Will they play well together? Yes. Will they be fun to watch? At least according to what fans saw last night.
Prior to the game in a conversation with the Edmonson Voice, newly named Head Coach Brad Johnson laid out his expectations for this year's team, which included plenty of hustle, a fast pace, teamwork, and a team that will be competitive throughout the season. His expectations were met in the 10-point win over the Cardinals, led by seniors Trace Taylor (21pts, 5rbs) and Evan Stice (14pts on four 3-pointers).
Coach Johnson said the team was nervous before the game and thought they might have some trouble getting over the first-game jitters, but when the 3-pointers started falling (11 total for the game) the boys looked much more comfortable and he was pleased with the effort.
"We had guys gutting it out," he said. "We had guys rebounding against somebody taller and stronger then they were. I feel like that was really good and I'm proud of the kids."
Nelson County, a well-matched team against Edmonson, also had plenty of scrap, hustle, and hot shooting early. It was almost a mirror image of the Cats' play in the first half. Edmonson County edged them in most categories early except rebounding, and the Cardinals' opportunities for second-chance points kept the score close. Edmonson led 16-15 after the first and held a 27-22 lead at the half.
Twelve Cats saw playing time in last night's game and nine of them landed in the scorebook.
"All in all, it was a good win and we need that," said Johnson. "It gets the ship headed in the right direction and we have a tough test with Cumberland County. They've got everybody back and we played them this summer. We squeaked by them by one or two points."
Junior forward Braden Wall went down in the first half with an ankle injury and his availability is currently unknown.
"We don't know Braden's status. (Swelling) popped up on him pretty good there. We'll ice the heck out it, hopefully. I hate it for him because it means so much to him. Nobody was more anxious to get out here more than Braden tonight, but we say 'pick your teammate up,' and Braden gets a lot of rebounds so somebody else has to rebound above themselves a little bit."
The Cats out-rebounded the Cardinals 18-8 in the second half.
Other scoring for the Cats was: Will Alexander 6, Tyler Anderson 5, Cole Saling 4, Braxton Highbaugh 4, Braden Wall 3, Jarrett Prunty 3, Zander Bass 2.
The Wildcats are now 1-0 on the season and will take on Cumberland County at home on Saturday.