Jenkins Beats The Buzzer In Overtime Thriller, Bears Advance to Title Game
The Butler County Bears had a chance Tuesday night to beat one of their staunchest rivals for a fourth time. Their opponent were the Wildcats of Edmonson County High School and the venue for the fourth meeting between the two teams was the first round of the Boys 12th District Tournament at Grayson County High School. BCHS and ECHS had already played three times in the regular season, with the Bears capturing the win in all three meetings.
The Bears wore the home uniforms on Tuesday night, but certainly held no home court advantage at GCHS. A large crowd filled the gym to see Butler and Edmonson tip off in the second game of the evening after having watched top seed Grayson County easily dispatch Trinity High School in the opener.
Josh Milam for Edmonson opened the scoring almost two minutes into the game when he hit a jumper from 8 feet on the baseline to make the score 2-0 in Edmonson’s favor. The Bears responded behind solid play from senior Dylan Goodall. Goodall hit a three-pointer to give the Bears the lead at 3-2, and had five more points in the first period as Bears pushed their lead to 10-2. Punctuating the run was a technical foul called on Milam after a missed dunk attempt saw the senior hang from the rim. Trevor Jenkins hit both technical free throws, and the crowd responded by rising to a fever pitch to cheer on the Bears. The Wildcats got a basket to close the period, but the BCHS crowd was cheering a 10-4 BCHS lead after the first period.
Notable in the first period was a rash of fouls called on both teams, as the officials seemed determined to keep control of the game. The first period ended with 7 personal fouls having already been called. For BCHS center/forward Trevor Jenkins and guard/forward Zeke Woodcock each already had two fouls to end the period.
The second period saw ECHS deliberately run their offense in the face of the Butler County defense, and slowly start climbing back into the game. With the Bears doggedly defending Josh Milam the Wildcats were forced to find scoring from other places. The found their scoring mostly from the free throw line, where ECHS scored 12 of their 18 first half points, mostly from reserve Justin Carnes who was 6 of 7 from the line in the first half.
The game got ugly with less than a minute to play in the first half. Butler County’s Jackson Washer and Edmonson’s Chase Duvall got tangled on the ECHS end of the floor after a hard rebound. No punches were thrown but the two boys scuffled with Washer complaining that he had been hit in the mouth. Coach Greg Woodcock had to physically restrain Washer on the BCHS bench as Washer plead to referees that he had been hit in the lip and was bleeding. Officials assessed offsetting technical fouls on the players.
The half closed with ECHS trailing by only a basket at 20-18. A total of 27 personal fouls were assessed in the first half, with Lucas Bratcher of BCHS whistled for four fouls. Both Dylan Goodall and Jackson Washer went to halftime with three fouls, and Woodcock and Jenkins had a pair of fouls for BCHS. Elijah Flener led the BCHS scoring in the first half with 9 points, hitting all five of his free throw attempts. BCHS was a perfect 9 of 9 from the line in the half. Flener’s most important contribution might have been psychological as he seemed to try to calm his team and control the pace of the wild game in the first half. Matt Caudill led ECHS in scoring with 7 points in the first half.
The second half opened with both teams more in control, and the pace slowed noticeably. BCHS won the third period to 7 to 5 to push their lead to 27-23 with three periods in the books.
Edmonson County came charging back into the game in the fourth period. Josh Milam, held scoreless since his dunk attempt, had ten points for the Wildcats in the period.
The game came down to the final two minutes of regulation. BCHS saw the Wildcats come all the back in the fourth period to take the lead at 31-30. BCHS retied the game with a free throw, then the two teams traded baskets to make the score 35-33 when Chase Duvall was fouled for ECHS. Duvall calmly sank both his free throws to tied the game at 35-35 leaving BCHS 7 seconds to try to win the game. Coach Woodcock had his play precalled and a last second jumper from Zeke Woodcock fell away no good to send the two teams to overtime tied at 35 each.
ECHS’s Matt Caudill scored first in the extra period, giving the Cats a 37-35 lead. Elijah Flener answered for BCHS to retie the game. Then a Jenkins jumper gave the Bears the lead at 39-37 before Milam tied the game again for ECHS with a jumper. Zeke Woodcock hit one of two free throws to give BCHS a 40-39 lead with 17.1 seconds to play in overtime. ECHS Coach Darrel Travis called timeout to set one more play for his Wildcats.
Coming out of the timeout ECHS had the ball on their end of the court. With time winding down Milam slipped behind a screen on the wing and Justin Carnes found him behind the Bear defense on the baseline. Milam laid the ball in with 7.7 seconds on the clock to give ECHS the lead 41-40. Zeke Woodcock took the inbounds from Elijah Flener and loped up the center of the floor for BCHS. Woodcock stepped through his defender and put up an off balance jumper with less than two seconds on the clock at the free throw line for BCHS. The shot clanged off the rim no good, and fell away to the left. With the clock winding down Trevor Jenkins picked the ball up off the floor, and let fly with an awkward, half-scoop shot from the left low post. The ball hit the backboard as the horn sounded, seemed to stall briefly on the rim support, then bounced home to seal the win for BCHS by a final of 42-41.
The BCHS fans, players, coaches, and cheerleaders swarmed the court at Grayson County High School, surrounding Jenkins in a sea of blue and white. No BCHS fan seemed happier than Superintendent Scott Howard who shook hands with each BCHS player as they made their way to the locker room.
Afterword Coach Greg Woodcock was still visibly emotional during a post game interview. Woodcock said that his players had been “through the fire” in his three years as head coach, with all the ups and downs building to the win on Tuesday night. For his part Jenkins was all smiles after the game. Jenkins said he just “threw a shot up” of his game winner, and praised his teammates for their tough play in the game.
The win means the Bears will face Grayson County in the finals of the 12th District Tourney on Friday night in Leitchfield. The win also means the Bears will make an appearance in the 3rd Region Tournament for the first time in five years. Woodcock however isn’t ready for the Regional Tournament yet. “I told this team we need to hang a District Tournament Banner in the gym, and Friday night that’s what we’re going to do.” Trevor Jenkins echoed his coach’s sentiments. Asked if his team could finally find a way to beat Grayson County, a team that has stymied both BCHS teams over the last three years, Jenkins said, “Oh yeah, we’ve got something for them this time.”
BCHS and Grayson County will play Friday night at 7 p.m. in Leitchfield. The game can be heard live on Beechtree 1570-AM with coverage beginning at approximately 6:45. The game can also be streamed live on www.beechtreenews.com by clicking on the radio icon at the top of the page.
Story by Joe Morris, Photos by Jeremy Hack, Beech Tree News