Owensboro Catholic (2-0, 1,0) handed Butler County (3-1, 0-1) their first loss of the season Saturday night at the Owensboro Sportscenter, defeating the Bears 75-67.
The Bears got out to a hot start offensively in this one. They were led by sophomore duo Lawson Rice and South Warren transfer Ty Price. Price led all scorers with 28 points, as Rice followed close behind with 26.
Early in the game, Price drained a three nearly from the logo, and followed it up with a contested step-back three to give the Bears a 19-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. Rice was also dominating in the paint, leading all scorers in the first half with 15 points.
The Aces managed to stay in this one, getting great contributions from all around, as well as from their bench. Head Coach Tim Riley mentioned how they were able to find themselves down only two points heading to the locker room despite not shooting the ball well in the first half.
“We knew as long as we could score, we could stay in it, and we did,” Riley said. “We were able to win despite very poor shooting night from three and from the free throw line. We still got a nine-point win against a pretty good team, so you got to feel good about that.”
It was truly a tale of two halves in this one. The Aces really revved up their full-court pressure in the second half. They caused many turnovers and took Price and the Bears out of their offense. Owensboro Catholic led 53-44 heading into the final quarter.
The Bears wouldn’t go down without a fight, as back-to-back buckets from Price cut it to a five-point Aces lead with just over five minutes left in the contest. The Bears brought the pressure now, but the Aces were able to knock down some free throws to put it out of reach. Sophomore guard Luke Beickman scored 11 of his 17 points on the game at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
The Aces were led by Brian Griffith and Parker Gray who scored 18 points each. The Aces’ defense is what really led them in this one, slowing the Bears down and tiring them out in the second half. Coach Riley was concerned that his squad would be the one that would have problems with conditioning, considering half his team joined them just a few weeks ago due to a deep playoff run in football.
“It’s going to take a while because the conditioning it takes to play basketball is very different from football,” Riley said. “We fouled a lot tonight because we were trying to go up and down.”
The Aces will have another tough matchup on Tuesday as they travel to Hancock County to take on the Hornets at 7 p.m.
“It’s a long year and you just have to keep getting better daily,” Riley said. “We hope that we’re better next week than we are this week.”