Though Trinity made a strong fourth-quarter run and grabbed a brief lead late, the Daviess County boys’ basketball team rallied and had just enough to hold on for a 60-58 win in their season opener at home Tuesday night.
The Panthers (1-0) maintained a slight edge through the first three quarters before the Raiders (1-1) finally managed to sustain a scoring run.
Trinity fought their way to a 52-48 lead with three minutes remaining, thanks in large part to to six fourth-quarter points from Ben Goetz. However, Panthers newcomer Ian Bivens nailed a contested 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to cut the deficit to one.
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Still trailing by a point with less than a minute to play, DC’s Logan Hillard hit a 3-point shot from the right wing to give the Panthers the lead for good.
After a layup by Trinity and a missed free throw by the Panthers on the other end, Raiders’ guard Ethan Howard found space for a potential game-winning 3-pointer but couldn’t get it to fall.
“I liked the grit our guys showed tonight after losing the lead late,” said Panthers head coach Neil Hayden. “Fighting through some first-game nerves and excitement, we didn’t handle the ball or shoot as well as we would have hoped. However, we have 77 days and 26 more games to figure out where we need to be when postseason play rolls around, so we will get back to practice and continue improving.”
In a game with 41 combined foul calls, both teams were forced to use several different lineups throughout a physical game.
Trinity head coach Nathan West was proud of his team’s hard-nosed approach in the second half, even being down a couple of players for long stretches.
“We got off to a slow start tonight,” West said. “We’re still trying to get some things figured out, but I liked the way we went back to what has worked for us in the past as we closed the gap in the second half. Landon Hall’s foul trouble forced us to rely on our bench more so tonight than what we normally do, but those guys came up huge for us tonight.”
Camron Johnson led the effort for DC with 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Hillard added 10 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals. A busy week for the Panthers continues as they head to Warren East on Friday and Trigg County on Saturday.
Trinity got 17 points from Ethan Howard and 12 each from Brenden Wathen and Landon Huff. The Raiders play Thursday in Henderson County before hosting Apollo on Saturday.
“We don’t have much time off, with Henderson Thursday and Apollo Saturday,” West said. “We will hit the gym and work on some shooting drills tomorrow and look to build off of our first two games as we move forward.”
Trinity (58): Ethan Howard 17, Brenden Wathen 12, Landon Huff 12, Ben Goetz 7, Will Edge 6, Landon Hall 2, Elijah Boarman 2
Daviess County (60): Camron Johnson 13, Bo Stratton 12, Logan Hillard 10, Ian Bivens 6, Hunter Gibson 5, Will Barron 5, Joe Humphreys 5, Ryan Thomson 4