By RAYNA GLASS, Jobe Publishing Inc.
In their opening round of the 18th District Boys Basketball Tournament, the Caverna Colonels had little trouble defeating their opponents from Green County.
Seven Colonels scored in last Wednesday night’s victory, with Jobby Howard leading the pack with 23. Joe Davidson had the game of his career, contributing 22 points, and dominating the boards.
The first quarter was tight, but not the early lead that Caverna was looking to take. Jobby Howard was the first to score, drawing a foul off a play in the paint and getting to the foul line. Green County answered off the inbound pass gaining two of their own. From then on, the first quarter would be back and forth, until Green looked to have taken control, extending their lead to six with 50 seconds left on the clock. \
As the final minute clicked by, the Colonels rallied back with a steal from Jobby and a dish to Davidson inside for two. Following, Davidson had a quick steal which he passed out to Sebastian Howard who drained a huge three at the buzzer to put the Colonels back within one point, 13-12.
The second quarter was the game changer for the Colonels. “I thought when our defensive pressure stepped up in the second quarter we kind of took over the game and that was something we wanted to try to do,” said head coach Josh Davis.
The Colonels held the Dragons to a mere six points in the second quarter, outscoring them 16-6 to take the lead at halftime, 28-19. Taking the lead with their first possession of the second quarter, Caverna did not play catch up for the remainder of the game.
Davidson and Jobby Howard led the team in scoring to take back the lead, but not alone.
“I knew this could have been our last game, for my senior year, I couldn’t let that happen. If it wasn’t for the guards I probably couldn’t have done what I did. They were very unselfish with the ball, Devon Paul and Jobby Howard, and Travis (Hensley) getting rebounds,” said senior forward, Joe Davidson who attributed the night’s teamwork for the win.
Junior guard, Sincere Page, opened the second half draining a three point shot. Green County would work their way towards the lead, but were unable to take it, as Caverna continued to force turnovers and convert steals to points. They held the lead 51-38 moving into the final eight minutes.
With eight minutes on the clock, Caverna need only contain Green County to have a shot at the district title and a spot in the region tournament.
Caverna took the ball to start the fourth quarter. Hensley stripped the ball from the hands of Green County, leading to a huge play in the paint to Davidson who drew defenders and dished the ball inside to Hensley for two. With 6:11 left to play, the Colonels had already extended their lead 57-40.
No advance from the Dragons went unanswered by the Colonels. When Davidson was stripped of the ball inside, he hustled down the court to take it back and throw a long pass out to Jobby Howard to score. At 4:48 left on the clock, Page fouled out, and Sebastian Howard filled his shoes with a steal of his own.
Caverna would keep the game under control to the last second with a final score of 72-55 sending them to a matchup against the LaRue County Hawks and a chance in the 5th region tournament.
Colonels fall short in championship
Cars lined the streets outside LaRue County High School as spectators packed in to watch the 18th District Championship between the top-seeded LaRue County Hawks and the Caverna Colonels.
The Colonels would hang in tight for the first half, keeping victory within sight, but would continue to fall behind as the second half wore on, unable to overcome the Hawks, losing 82-59.
It was obvious that the Hawks had a definite height advantage over Caverna, forcing the entirety of their offensive game in the first to come from the three-point line.
Jobby Howard, Travis Hensley, and Devon Paul would all score from the three to keep Caverna within reach of the Hawks, ending the first quarter down only six, 18-12.
Hensley opened the second quarter banking in a tough shot inside off a pass from Jobby Howard. Then Sebastian Howard came off the bench to liven up the Colonel offense, snagging three steals and scoring six points inside. Howard would tie the game at twenty all after getting the ball inside. With 3:50 remaining in the first half, Jobby Howard took the first lead for the Colonels 24-23, which was answered on the next possession by the Hawks.
In the final two minutes of the second half, there would be three lead changes, until LaRue finished on an 11-4 run to secure their lead, 36-30 going into the locker room.
Freshman forward, Mark Goode, who led the game with 25 points, was the first to score in the second half. He and Paul would play a game of back and forth inside for six possessions until Joe Davidson broke the pattern and score 2 off the inbound pass. With 4:48 on the clock, Caverna trailed by one, 42-41.
With Shane King knocking down three consecutive three’s, LaRue took control in the final minutes of the third, despite two long three’s from Jobby Howard and one from Devon Paul, to advance their lead to a comfortable 62-50 going into the 4th.
In a very long fourth quarter, the Colonels would be held to nine points against the Hawks’ 20. Hensley would foul out with 3:53 left to play, and Paul would be the first Colonel to score in the quarter with 3:49 left.
The Hawks continued to dominate the fourth quarter until the final buzzer rang out, making them the 2017 18th District Champions.
“I told the guys in the locker-room the final score didn’t really indicate what kind of a battle it was here tonight. I’m still proud of them. We still have a season left to play and a lot of teams don’t. We have to get better, we have to ready for next week. This one hurts, this one stings because we wanted it bad, but we’ve got to move on to the next one, because moping about tonight isn’t going to help us win the next one,” said head coach Josh Davis.
Devon Paul led the Colonels with 23 points with 5 3’s, followed by Jobby Howard with 18 points.
Devon Paul was selected to both all season and all tournament teams, Hensley was selected to all season, Jobby Howard to all tournament, and Joe Davidson to all tournament.
The season does not end with this loss for Caverna; they will travel to Central Hardin for their opening game of the 5th region tournament Wednesday, March 1 against Adair County at 8 p.m.