Panthers to play in first district championship game since 2017 after taking down Eagles

February 28, 2024 | 12:05 am

Updated February 28, 2024 | 9:54 am

Daviess County will be heading back to the district championships for the first time since 2017 after they took down Apollo 58-43 in the first round. 

Both teams got their shooters warmed up in the first quarter as Jonathan Moss’s 2 early threes helped them get a 5 point halfway through the quarter. Landon Henning had a three for himself and a bucket in the post as part of Apollo’s 7 points in the quarter. Jaxon Brown also established his tone for the game as his hustle for an offensive rebound from a missed free throw led to second chance points. His basket from the paint put the score at 13-7 with DCHS leading at the end of the first quarter. DCHS head coach Neil Hayden expressed his pride in Brown’s performance during the game. 

“He had a huge game,” he said. “I’m so proud of him. He has stayed patient and he kept chipping away. He’s a kid that can do so many things on the floor and he’s such a huge part of our team. I’m so proud of him.”

Henning had a big block under the rim to open the second quarter, but the Eagles wouldn’t get things moving offense until Luke Jarboe hit a contested 3 to put the score at 15-10. Despite two baskets from Brown, Tate Powers had a driving layup and a corner three to cut the gap to just one point at 19-18. The Panthers had big stops on defense to pave the way for a three by Gage Phelps and a fast break dunk by DeAaron Watkins. Powers hit another contested three to end the first half at 24-21. 

Apollo brought the ball up to start the third quarter, but Ayden Ayer got a steal that led to Phelps making two free throws to open scoring in the second half. Daviess County immediately got another stop, and the next play ended with Brown euro-stepping through the lane for a layup. AHS continued to shoot the three as Eli Williams and Jarboe both made one each in the quarter. Brown answered back with two three-pointers of his own to help DCHS maintain a 40-29 cushion going into the fourth quarter.

The Panthers scored to open the final quarter, but Powers answered back after dribbling through the crowded lane to open himself up for a mid-range floater. Jarboe continued the effort to cut the gap with a converted and-1 play to put the score at 44-34. Watkins extended DC’s lead again however, as he hit two back-to-back mid-range jumpers. With the Panthers in the bonus, AHS tried to make the most out of their possessions with Henning hitting a deep bank shot from the post and an open jumper just inside the corner three line. Phelps made 6 free throws to help close out the 58-43 win for Daviess County. 

Brown led the Panthers in scoring with 16 points and 2 threes. Phelps followed close behind with 15 points and 100% FT% as he made all 8 of his free throws. Moss scored 2 threes to go along with his 12 points on the night. Leading the Eagles in scoring was Jarboe with 3 threes and 14 points. Henning followed behind with 2 threes and 12 points. Eli Williams had 2 threes as well to go with his 10 points on the night.

With this defeat, the Eagles end their season with a record of 16-14. This also caps off Apollo’s first season under new head coach Ryne Tinsley. Tinsley said the turnaround the team made winning only 5 games last season to winning 16 this year was a great ride to have been a part of, and that the team will be improving for next season.

“It has been a great ride,” he said. “One starter back from a 5-win basketball team to a 16-win season with the entire roster back next year! Super proud of these guys as we were right there last night. One more year of experience as we will continue to improve our skill level and hit the weight room!”

Daviess County advancing to the district championship marks the first time they’ve been in the final since 2017. Hayde said he’s happy for his team to get the chance to pay for the title, but they know it will be a big game against whoever they end up facing out of Owensboro and Owensboro Catholic. 

“I’m happy for them to get the chance,” he said. “As far as keeping it going, we’re going to take it one game at a time. We’ll try to get Friday done and then we’ll focus on regions after that. Whoever we play, it’s going to be a good team. Both teams have gotten so much better throughout the year. For us, let’s be ready to match their intensity, focus on rebounding, taking care of the ball and getting ready for a big game.”

February 28, 2024 | 12:05 am

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