The Apollo boys’ basketball team picked up a much-needed win Friday night, using a late push in regulation before controlling the pace in overtime to knock off Daviess County in a 52-54 home victory.
The Eagles (2-13, 1-2) picked up just their second win of the year but moved into third place in the 9th District standings, while the Panthers (5-10, 0-2) dropped their fifth straight and fall to fourth place.
In the extra period, Apollo largely controlled the tempo, slowing the game down and converting layups on their first two possessions. DC’s Will Barron sunk a 3-pointer to pull the Panthers within one with only 11 seconds left, but it was the closest they could get. Ryan Thomson’s would-be game winner bounced off the front of the rim as time expired.
Apollo head coach Steve Barker was elated to come away from a rivalry game with a victory, hoping that the win might help his team to turn a corner in the second half of the season.
“Anytime there is a rivalry game like this one, you can count on the fact that it will be a high-level game,” Barker said. “I talked to the guys today in our walk-through about how a win could help us turn a corner. With the kind of season we have had to this point, I’m hoping that we can start putting some wins together to close it out. Tonight was a step in the right direction and I’m so proud of the guys.”
Daviess County started hot and built up a 26-17 lead at halftime, thanks in large part to Bo Stratton’s 10 first-half points. Camron Johnson’s old-fashioned 3-point play pushed the Panthers’ advantage to 31-20 midway through the third quarter before Apollo started their comeback.
Harrison Bowman and Landon Hamilton converted back-to-back layups to start the Eagles’ rally, and Malik Wilson drained a 3 as time expired in the third quarter to cut the deficit to six.
After a mostly balanced scoring attack for the Eagles in the first three periods, big men Dan St. Claire and Ryan Ash took the offensive reins. The two combined for 15 of Apollo’s 22 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Daviess County had to deal with considerable foul trouble as an intense game wore on, and Stratton — a large contributor early — fouled out with 3:21 to play in regulation.
The Panthers clung to a dwindling lead until Wilson sunk one of two free throws with 1:19 to play, tying the game at 47-all. Daviess County held onto the basketball for the remaining minute, isolating Thomson at the top of the key to set up a frantic final possession.
With seven seconds on the clock, Thomson penetrated the Apollo defense and offered up a runner off the glass. The ball bounced off the backboard and rolled around the rim St. Claire pulled down the rebound for Apollo.
St. Claire passed the ball to Wilson, who drove the length of the court but missed a layup attempt, and a tip-in try by Ash at the buzzer clanked off the rim to end regulation.
Daviess County head coach Neil Hayden said after falling short in a game with such high intensity and energy, he hopes the team can bounce back quickly.
“The difference in the game seemed to be the paint tonight,” Hayden said. “It was a hard-fought game for both teams. It’s never fun to lose a rivalry game, but we have a quick turnaround before our game tomorrow and I’m looking forward to seeing how the team responds.”
Thomson led all scorers with 21 points, while Johnson added 11 and Stratton had 10 for DC. Apollo was led by 16 from Ash, 11 from Adam Fitzgerald and 10 from St. Claire.
Daviess County will hit the road to take on Russell County in the BSN Sports Kay Morris Classic at 7 p.m. Saturday, while Apollo heads to Dawson Springs for a 5:15 p.m. tipoff.
DCHS (52): Ryan Thomson 21, Camron Johnson 11, Bo Stratton 10, Joe Humphreys 6, Will Barron 3, Kobi Kato 1
AHS (54): Ryan Ash 16, Adam Fitzgerald 11, Dan St. Claire 10, Landon Hamilton 8, Malik Wilson 6, Harrison Bowman 3
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2019-20 basketball coverage is presented in part by Rhoads & Rhoads Attorneys at Law.