Foul troubles slowed a hot start as the Cougars lost a heartbreaker to the Tigers 70-61.
“We started off the season with a really good Hopkinsville team and we ended with a really good Hopkinsville team,” LCHS head coach Harold Tackett said. “They are a really good team, they play really hard and are very well coached, they have so many weapons.”
In the first quarter the Cougars pushed the Tigers into their chaotic, frenetic style of play and held a 13-2 lead. With the referee’s allowing both teams to play hard and aggressive the Cougars used that to absolutely shut down the inside game of Hopkinsville.
But all that changed in the second quarter. The play started getting a little more physical and the fouls started mounting for the Cougars.
“We got into foul trouble tonight especially in the 2nd quarter,” coach Tackett said.
In the second quarter the once 11 point lead started to shrink, slowly but surely. With three starters on the bench due to foul trouble, one of the top offenses in the region started slowing down. The chaotic pace of the game slowed to a more manageable pace for the Tigers of Hopkinsville. The interior game that was non-existent for the Tigers in the first quarter came back in a big way.
Even though the Tigers got punched hard in the first quarter, they got back off the floor and struck back to closed the gap to 30-28.
“When you got 3 kids sitting on the bench most of the second quarter we ended up taking a two point lead into half time and then coming out in the third quarter they just executed a little bit better than we did,” coach Tackett said. “I thought we fought really hard in the fourth quarter, matched them basket for basket, but the third quarter really hurt us, they jumped out 7 or 8 and kept it”
In the third quarter the Tigers continued to press their advantage and took a seven point lead into the fourth quarter, showing that there was a reason they had only lost twice all year.
But in the fourth quarter the Cougars made one final push to try and knock the mighty Tigers off. They closed the gap to nine, but couldn’t get any closer as they traded basket for basket all the way to the end in the 70-61 loss.
“We couldn’t have picked a better opponent to end the season with that’s really going to push us and make us play hard,” coach Tackett said.
Sajuan Watkins collected another double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Twin Lancaster also had a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds and Torin Graham added 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
“Now the slate is clean, 0-0, we’ll put this behind us and get ready for Monday,” coach Tackett said when asked about the tournament.
The Cougars faced the Rebels last night in the opening round of the tournament. Logan County had beaten Todd County twice already with a 80-55 win at home and a 79-50 victory on the road.
If the Cougars can make it three in a row against the Rebels, they will be guaranteed a spot in the Region 4 tournament, the first time since 1998.