Back-to-Back Wins For Edmonson County as Cats Top Raiders 78-76
Darren Doyle, story: Alyssa Doyle, photos:
It was another team effort that led to better shot selections and high percentage shots for the Wildcats as they overcame a first quarter deficit from the visiting Hart County Raiders.
Hart was on fire in the first quarter as they connected on six-3 pointers, four of which came from senior guard Travis Shuffett, who averages only 5.7 points per game. The Raiders looked like they were going to run the Cats out of their own gym, with double-digit leads in the first few minutes. Hart led 23-14 after the first.
Edmonson County turned up their defensive pressure and forced 8 Raider turnovers in the second quarter. Points in transition helped the Wildcats outscore the Raiders 25-19 in the quarter and they trailed at halftime 42-39.
The third quarter was sloppy for Edmonson County as they got out of their offensive rhythm and forced shots at times. Hart County was able to extend their lead to 60-55 after three quarters, thanks to a 10-0 run from Hart. Edmonson County regrouped and started doing the same things that brought them success in the second- defensive pressure that forced more Hart County turnovers (22 for the game), better shot selection which led to easier points from Dalton Decker (25pts) and Eli Booker (18pts), and staying close in the rebounding battle, (Hart: 27 EC: 25).
Key free throws down the stretch from Booker, Decker, Daniel Woosley, and Mason Pierce also helped secure the win. Two crucial trips to the line resulted in misses, but offensive rebounds by Edmonson County that allowed them to keep their possessions alive. Hart County hit a three-pointer at the buzzer but it wasn't enough as the Wildcats won their second game in a row for a final score of 78-76.
"I was really proud of the kids tonight," said Coach Mac. "We got down early but battled back, cut it to 3 at the half, and we just kept working and working and pulled this one out. I mean, we made it interesting, but they like making it tough on me," he said with a laugh.
Mac said the team did what it needed to do at the right times; getting stops late, grabbing rebounds, and making shots when the game was on the line, despite times when Edmonson County strayed from the game plan.
"We consider even rushing shots not taking care of the ball," he added. "We forced some shots we didn't need to be taking, there were times we should've been running through our offense--all the way through it to ball reversal, and we'd rush it. I thought we did better in the fourth quarter with it when we had to, and some guys hit some big free throws."
Mac also credited the bench for quality minutes from Luke Meredith, Trent Taylor, Gavin Rose, Jon Smith, and Isaiah Johnson.
Edmonson County is now 5-10 on the season and will face Trinity in a rematch at home on Friday night for the 2020 Basketball Homecoming. Girls action is scheduled for a 5:30pm tip.