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HARNED — With time running out and his team down two Friday night, Meade County senior forward Luke Wilson launched a 3-pointer just in front of the Green Wave bench.
First-year Meade County coach Josh Henderson tried to coax the shot in with some body language, but the shot hit off the rim and into the hands of the Hancock County Hornets.
Senior guards Kolton Keown and Jake Ogle then made 3-of-4 free throws in the final 18 seconds as the top-seeded Hornets held on for a 61-57 win in the Boys’ 11th District Tournament championship at Breckinridge County.
“I thought that shot was good,” said Meade County sophomore forward Josh Durbin, who had 17 points and six rebounds. “But when it hit off the rim and they got the rebound, I knew it would be tough to come back from that.”
So close, yet so far away for the second-seeded Green Wave (9-19), who went from trailing by 10 in the first quarter to leading by eight early in the third.
But Meade County started forcing shots in the fourth quarter, when it was just 3-of-11 from the field.
“I think we probably got some bad breaks a couple of times and didn’t get the shot we were looking for, but that’s not what lost the game for us,” Henderson said. “They knew they had to score and they were looking for good shots, and sometimes when you do that it looks discombobulated. We had five guys trying to make a play in the end, and that’s what I wanted to see.”
The Green Wave just couldn’t make a play when they needed to, but Wilson said they have nothing to be ashamed of in coming up short against the Hornets.
“We held our own,” he said. “The season’s not over. We’ve still got the region tournament to look forward to, and hopefully we can get a good draw for that.”
Ogle (17 points), Keown (12) and senior guard Jake Powers (11) scored in double figures for Hancock County (19-7), which won its first district title since 1999.
The Hornets led 20-10 with 1:06 left in the first quarter, but a 16-4 run gave the Green Wave a 26-24 advantage with 5:15 remaining in the second. Durbin, sophomore guard Jacob Bewley and freshman guard Calvin Hackert combined for all 16 points during the spurt.
Meade County led 31-30 at the half and stretched its lead to 38-30 as Bewley and Durbin hit shots in the lane and Hackert drained a 3 to fuel a 7-0 run to begin the second half.
“They came in and contributed,” Wilson said of the trio. “You can’t ask for anything better than bench players who can do that, but we really don’t have bench players. We’ve got 10 guys that can play at any time.”
But Hancock County came storming back, using a 12-0 run to take a 42-38 on a runner by senior Jake Powers with 3 minutes left in the third. Junior guard John Wilson converted a three-point play and Hackert hit a layup to pull the Green Wave within 44-43 going to the fourth.
After Durbin hit a free throw and Powers made another runner in the lane, sophomore guard John Michael Millay’s 3-pointer off an assist from John Wilson gave Meade County a 47-46 lead – its last of the game – with 6:41 remaining.
“We never gave up,” said Luke Wilson, who was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Durbin and John Wilson. “We settled down in the second half and came out and pressured them into some turnovers, but then they bounced back.”
Powers hit a 3 with 6:21 to go for a 49-47 lead and the Green Wave were called for a technical foul with 5:47 remaining. Keown hit both free throws to push the lead to 51-47.
After Luke Wilson hit one free throw with 4:27 left, sophomore guard Garrett Pate’s 3 made it 54-48. Luke Wilson hit a jumper and Pate had a runner to make it 56-50 with 2:07 left, but Meade County wasn’t finished.
Hackert hit one free throw with 1:27 to go and, after a Hancock County turnover, Durbin scored on a putback with 1:12 left to pull the Green Wave within 56-53.
Ogle made two free throws with 43.5 seconds remaining, but Durbin and Hackert made four consecutive from the foul line to make it 58-57 with 21.2 seconds remaining.
“I knew it wouldn’t hurt us much by being down early on, and I knew we’d come back because our team just kept fighting till the end and we didn’t give up,” Durbin said.
The Green Wave just ran out of time.
Henderson was confident his team would’ve won if that were the case.
“We’ve come back from a lot of deficits before,” he said. “Even though you say you can’t do those things, it ain’t over till it’s over – and we proved that tonight. I think that, even from the get-go when we were down 10, they believed they could win.”
HANCOCK COUNTY 61, MEADE COUNTY 57
Meade County 12 19 12 14—57
Hancock County 20 10 14 17—61
Meade County (9-19)
Josh Durbin 17, Calvin Hackert 8, Corey Stegner 8, Jacob Bewley 7, Luke Wilson 6, John Michael Millay 5, John Wilson 3, Charles Mattingly 3. FG: 19-44. FT: 12-15. 3-pointers: 7-19 (Bewley 1-5, Stegner 2-3, L. Wilson 1-3, Hackert 1-2, Millay 1-2, J. Wilson 0-2, Mattingly 1-1, Zeb Wilson 0-1). Rebs: 19 (Durbin 6, Stegner 4). Assists: 10 (J. Wilson 3, Hackert 2, Bewley 2, Mattingly 2). Steals: 6 (Bewley 2, Four with 1).
Hancock County (19-7)
Jake Ogle 17, Kolton Keown 12, Jake Powers 11, Brendan Howton 9, Garrett Pate 7, Ty Ogle 3, Patrick McBride 2. FG: 20-42. FT: 14-18. 3-pointers: 7-14 (J. Ogle 3-6, Keown 1-3, T. Ogle 1-2, Powers 1-2, Pate 1-1). Rebs: 31 (Pate 6, Powers 5, J. Ogle 5). Assists: 7 (J. Ogle 3, Pate 2). Steals: 2 (Powers 1, J. Ogle 1).
Josh Claywell can be reached at 270-505-1752 or email@example.com.