With his team trailing by three points, Edmonson County’s Cole Bedwell put up a shot with 2.1 seconds left to play that he hoped would tie the score 42-42 in the opener of the 12th District Tournament against the Grayson County Cougars.
Bedwell’s shot hit nothing but net, sending the Wildcat fans into a frenzy.
There was just one, small problem, however. As Bedwell stepped into the shot, his left foot clearly stepped over the three-point line, making his potential tying shot just a two-pointer, and leaving them a point short of the tie.
When Braxton Williams was fouled on the ensuing inbounds play, he was able to hit 1-of-2 at the line with one second left to give the Cougars a 43-41.
The win assured the Cougars of a spot in next week’s 3rd Region Tournament, in Owensboro, and put them into Friday’s district championship game against the number-one seeded Butler County Bears, who cruised to victory over the host Trinity Raiders 75-49 in Tuesday’s second game.
This game marked the fourth time this season that the Cougars and the Wildcats had met, and each time the Cougars were able to scratch out wins. After the first period, though, in this one, it appeared the Cougars might run away and hide.
In a very deliberate game, the Cougars scored the first four points and led 4-0 with just 2:40 left in the opening quarter. The Wildcats did not get on the board until the 1:37 mark, when Dakota Woodcock hit 1-of-2 at the line to make it 4-1.
The Cougars then closed out the period by scoring five straight, capped off by Bret Johnston’s buzzer-beating three-pointer which made it 9-1 as the first quarter came to a close.
But the Wildcats got back in it in the second quarter as the Cougars hit a cold shooting stretch. Woodcock converted a three-point play less than a half-minute into the second period to make it 9-4.
Rance Whobrey answered with a six-footer that made it 11-4 with 7:11 left in the period, but the Wildcats responded with an 8-0 run to take their first lead of the night, 12-11 with 4:20 left in the first half.
The Cougars had four straight empty trips, missing five shots, before Braxton Williams scored on a lay-in with 3:59 remaining to put the Cougars back up a point, 13-12.
Bedwell hit two free throws with 3:11 remaining, then converted another three-point play with 2:44 left to give the Wildcats their largest lead of the night, four points at 17-13. Logan Ramsey splashed a three-pointer with 2:16 left to pull the Cougars to within a point at 17-16. Both teams had three chances in the closing moments of the first half to add to their scores, but neither could get the ball in the hoop.
Grayson County finished the night shooting 41 percent from the field on 14-of-34 attempts, but in the second period were just 3-of-12 from the field, which allowed the Wildcats back into the game.
Tanner Tyra’s lay-up at the 3:19 mark ofm the third quarter tied the score 20-20, but Edmonson’s Hunter Buttram hit a three at 3:08 to put the Wildcats back on top. A lay-up by Talon Gary and a put-back basket by Lane Rackley gave the Cougars a one-point lead, 24-23 with 1:52 left.
Austin Sowders then hit 1-of-2 at the line to tie things 24-24 with 1:40 left. That would be the final tie of the night. Tyra scored on a short running jumper at the 1:30 mark to put Grayson County in front 26-24, and they would never trail again.
The Cougars closed out the period hitting 6-of-7 at the line, completing an 8-0 run to give them an eight-point lead, 32-24 heading into the final period of play.
The Cougars had the ball first in the fourth quarter, seeking to take at least a 10-point lead, but they turned the ball over. And when the Wildcats scored to cut their deficit to six points, it marked a four-point turn-around
Talon Gary scored to push the lead back to eight, but the Wildcats answered with four straight to cut the lead to just four points, 34-30 at the 4:58 mark.
Gary buried a three with 4:44 remaining to increase the Cougar lead to seven points, but the Wildcats scored the next four to pull to within three, 37-34 with 1:15 left in the game.
At this point, the game turned into a battle at the foul line. Over the next minute, the Wildcats hit 7-of-8 at the line, while the Cougars were 5-of-6. That made it 42-39 in favor of the Cougars with 15.6 seconds left to play and set the stage for the final act.
Tyra was fouled with 13.8 seconds left and went to the line in the double bonus. But he missed both shots and the Wildcats rebounded and called a timeout with 8.6 seconds left.
Back on the floor, the Wildcats brought the ball up the court and got it to Bedwell in the right corner as the clock was winding down. Bedwell had plenty of time to line up his shot, step forward and drive it home, but he stepped just a bit too far. Instead of the tying basket, it just brought the Wildcats to within one with 2.1 seconds left.
Williams then added a free throw to make the final margin of victory two points.
Bedwell led the Wildcats with 11 points. Gary was the only Cougar in double figures, leading the team with 10 points and also leading with four rebounds.
Whobrey finished his night with nine points, while Williams had seven. Johnston had five points and added three rebounds before fouling out with 1:26 left in the game.
Tyra finished with four points, Ramsey and Rackley had three each, and Colton Williams added two to complete the scoring.