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It was a tough pill to swallow for the Wildcats as they were edged by Allen County Friday night at ECHS in the final seconds of a game that had been controlled by Edmonson County until the very end.
"We did about everything that we could do wrong in the last few minutes of the game, and that's speaking for coaches and players," said assistant Wildcat coach Bart Weaver. "We just didn't do a good job down the stretch, we hurried offensively, missed our assignments on defense on a couple of trips, but a lot comes back on us coaches. We're going to take a lot of this blame. We didn't do a good job preparing I guess, or in the game. Another thing, we didn't sub tonight. Coach (Mac) is in there apologizing to some players right now. I thought we were dead-dog tired at the end of the game."
According to official stats, the starting five players were the only players used in the entire game with no substitutions.
After a sluggish start from both teams in the first quarter which resulted in an Allen County 11-9 lead, the Wildcats bounced back in the second quarter, outscoring the Patriots 19-12, led by Caleb Skaggs' 13 second quarter points. Skaggs led the way for the Wildcats for 20 points, connecting on 4 of 10 from behind the arc.
The Wildcats were on top 28-23 at the break and maintained a manageable lead throughout the third, holding a 47-39 advantage going into the fourth; however, the fourth quarter wasn't kind to Edmonson County.
Over the next two minutes the Wildcats missed 7 out of 8 shots, committed two fouls, and gave the ball away three times on turnovers. An Allen County basket off a Wildcat turnover shrunk Edmonson County's lead to only 49-46 with 3:56 to go.
The Wildcats were finally able to get some points on the board as Daniel Caudill muscled his way inside for a couple of baskets, including a spin move and strong push to the basket that resulted in a foul. Caudill missed the free throw but the Cats held on to a 53-46 lead with just over three minutes to go.
A Patriot three pointer shortened the Wildcat lead again to 53-49 and from there, Allen County outscored Edmonson 13-1 in the final two minutes as EC missed 2/3 free throws down the stretch and gave up another turnover as time ticked away.
Allen County tied the score at 54 all with 37 seconds left in the game.
The Patriots regained possession of the ball as a result of an Edmonson County foul with 16.5 seconds to go. After an EC timeout, the Wildcats went to a full court, man-to-man defense but Allen County drove the length of the floor and scored an easy reverse layup with five seconds on the clock to take a 56-54 lead, their first since the first quarter.
Skaggs was forced to heave a half-court shot at the buzzer that didn't fall and the Wildcats lost 56-54.
Also helping in the effort was Iszic Blankenship with 12 points and 8 rebounds, Caudill had 10 points and 8 rebounds, Tucker Cole had 8 points and 5 assists, and Bailey Board had 4 points.
The Wildcats shot 46% from the field but were out-rebounded 32-24 and only shot a measily 41% from the free throw line. Edmonson County was outscored 17-7 in the final quarter.
Although extremely disappointed, coach Weaver focused on some positives from the game, one being a bounce-back performance from Caleb Skaggs who struggled earlier in the week against Breckinridge County.
"You know, he struggled in the first game and struggled tonight in the first quarter," he said. "I told him that when you're struggling from the field, drive to the basket and get the lid off, and man, he went in there and scored inside and it seemed like that was all he needed. Just a little confidence and then he shot the ball well. For us to be a good team, we gotta have him shooting, so that was big for us tonight to get him on track."
The Wildcats fall to 0-2 on the season. They are scheduled to travel to Daviess County on Tuesday, December 6 in a girl/boy doubleheader. The game will be broadcast live right here on EdmonsonVoice.com with the WildcatsLive crew. Pregame action is scheduled to start around 5:45pm.