Darren Doyle, story: Madison Doyle, photos:
The Wildcats saw a double-digit lead vanish into thin air in the second half against Logan County last night at ECHS on Senior Night, but Edmonson County seniors found a way to overcome a four-point deficit in the final two minutes to finish the last regular season game with a 70-68 win.
It would be the final game for five Edmonson County seniors: Bailey Board, Iszic Blankenship, Daniel Caudill, Caleb Skaggs, and Peyton Talley, in the gym at Edmonson County High School, as they celebrated Senior Night festivities after the Lady Cat victory over Greenwood.
Leading 35-25 at halftime against the Cougars, the Wildcats were rattled early in the third quarter as Logan County came out on a 10-0 run that seemed to have Edmonson County on the ropes.
Logan County tied the game at 50 all as the fourth quarter began and the quarter continued with each team trading jabs at the other when the Cougars took the lead at 57-54 on back-to-back threes by Logan County's Ethan Smock. It was their first lead since it was 3-2 in the first quarter.
That's when seniors Bailey Board and Iszic Blankenship became more aggressive on the offensive end. The two combined for 19 of the Wildcats' 20 points in the fourth quarter.
With 59 seconds left in game, trailing by two, Blankenship nailed a 10ft jump shot in traffic with a foul to tie the score at 66-66. He hit the free throw on the converted three-point play to give the Wildcats their first lead since it was 54-51.
Edmonson County never lost the lead again and the game was iced when Bailey Board calmly hit two free throws with 9 seconds on the clock to extend the Cats' lead to 70-66. Logan County scored another bucket, but it wasn't enough as the Wildcats held on for the 70-68 win.
Assistant Coach Bart Weaver joked on how Edmonson County games never seem to be easy.
"No, we just try to keep everybody excited, I guess," he said with a laugh. "We just like to keep the fans biting their fingernails."
Weaver said the emotions of senior night are always a concern but he said they were focused on a team effort which led to a season-high 21 assists for the team, and extra passes led to high percentage shots. The Wildcats shot 65% from the floor.
Senior Daniel Caudill re-injured a tender ankle in the second half and had to be helped off the court. He did not return to the game. It appears to be only a strain at this point and Caudill has received treatment around the clock; however, his status for Tuesday's game is unknown at this time.
Bailey Board put up 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Iszic Blankenship added 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Senior Caleb Skaggs was the other Wildcat in double figures with 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists.
The Wildcat coaching staff says that team effort is the key ingredient to winning the first district championship since 1993. Weaver said this was a huge momentum boost for the Cats as they try to bring the trophy back to EC from the tournament that begins on Tuesday in Morgantown.
"We've just pounded it. Team," said Weaver. "If we really want to make a run for this championship in the district, we can't get away from this. With the snap of a finger it can get away from you if you're not playing together and for each other. We've just pounded it in their heads. It's worked well and they've responded well with it."
The remaining box score was Vincent 6, Cole 4, Caudill 2, and L. Lindsey 1.
Edmonson County is now 17-10 on the season.
The Wildcats are scheduled to take on Trinity in the first round of the District 12 Tournament at 6pm on Tuesday, February 21 at Butler County High School. You can listen live only on WildcatsLive, right here on EdmonsonVoice.com.