Darren Doyle story
Laney Meredith photos
If you haven't followed Wildcat basketball at all this year and you casually heard that their record is 4-3, you'd probably think "that's not too bad." The thing is, even though Edmonson County is only one game over .500, it's actually very impressive, as their 3 losses on the year have come from very good, top-ranked teams that have been running other teams out of gyms in the 3rd and 4th regions.
The Wildcats lost 89-87 in overtime to the Barren County Trojans on a 15-foot, off balance bank shot at the buzzer by Nick Mabe, who led the Trojans with 22 points. It's the second loss at or near the buzzer in the past three games for the Wildcats.
Powered by senior forward Cuban Sowders, who led all scorers with 30 points and 10 rebounds, Edmonson County controlled the game, sometimes with double-digit leads, until Barren County was able to dial up the pressure in the 4th quarter and the top ranked team in the 4th region began to wear the Wildcats down.
"We let this one slip away from us," said assistant coach Bart Weaver. "We made some turnovers down the stretch. That killed us, but we hung on and battled back in overtime, but you know, Barren County is a good team."
And with such a quality team, it was difficult for the Wildcats to keep the Trojans from scoring when they needed to, which was during the final minute of regulation and then the overtime.
The Wildcats led 23-13 after the first quarter and 39-32 at halftime. Going into the fourth, the Cats were still ahead with a 6 point, 58-52 lead. The Wildcats had gained a 73-63 lead with 3:47 to go in the game, but the Trojans would start cutting that lead with a 15-5 run that would tie it at 78 all to end regulation.
The overtime started with three straight missed buckets by the Wildcats and a foul on Hunter Buttram. The Trojans hit two free throws for their first lead of the game, 80-78. After a Wildcat turnover and a foul, Barren hit one of two free throws for a 81-78 lead. Sowders drew a foul and hit both free throws to make it 81-80 in favor of Barren County, but another Trojan basket made it 83-80 with 1:30 to go.
On the next play, junior Caleb Skaggs missed a three to tie the game, but an offensive rebound and put back by Tucker Cole brought the Cats to within one at 83-82. Another Barren County basket extended their lead to 85-82, and after a Sowders miss, Barren County drew a foul on Iszic Blankenship, hitting two free throws and making it a two possession, 87-82 lead with 46 seconds to go.
Skaggs nailed a three to get the Cats within 2 at 87-85 with 16 seconds left. After a Barren County timeout, the Trojans were fouled as they inbounded the ball but missed the front end of the bonus. Blankenship swiped his 13th rebound of the game with 10 seconds left which gave the Cats a chance to tie or win.
Edmonson County pounded the paint and Cuban Sowders scored his 30th point of the night and tied the score at 87 all with 3.5 seconds left. After a Barren County timeout, the Trojans inbounded the ball to Nick Mabe who then dribbled the length of the floor and banked in the bucket at the buzzer.
"We out played them tonight," Weaver said. "That's what's sickening about this one. We outplayed a good Barren County team, except for down the stretch."
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, all that matters in wins and losses is the score after the buzzer sounds, and Barren County was able to get the job done when it counted to remain undefeated on the season. Team turnovers and costly mistakes down the stretch proved to be the disadvantages for the Cats on this night.
Behind Sowders, senior Hunter Buttram also had a big night with 23 points, hitting 6 of 7 three pointers and making 5 of 6 free throws. Junior Caleb Skaggs added 18 points in the marathon effort.
Also helping the cause was Iszic Blankenship with 8 points and 13 rebounds, Jackson Sasse and Austin Hodge each had 3 points, and Tucker Cole added 2.
The Wildcats are now 4-3 on the season and will play Hancock County away in the first game of the Aleris Christmas Tournament on Sunday at 3:45pm. Whether or not they win or lose will determine what time the boys will play on Monday. Sunday's game will not be broadcast, but you can listen to Monday's game on WildcatsLive. We'll keep you updated as for the time.
You can always listen to any of our previous broadcasts for both boys and girls by visiting our episode archives by clicking here.