The game featured a variety of storylines, with the most visible being Wildcat forward Russell Mackins taking the floor against his former Cairo teammates.
Mackins, who averaged 8.3 points off the bench for the Pilots last year before transferring to Trigg County, had a chance to beat his former team by himself.
With the score tied at 69, Mackins was fouled on a rebound with no time showing on the clock. However, Mackins missed both free throws to send the game to overtime.
Jeremy Jones scored eight of his 25 points in the overtime, including consecutive 3-pointers that opened up an 80-73 cushion with 1:43 left.
Mackins added the next four points as the Wildcats completed a 12-2 overtime run to take control of the game.
"We never quit. I think we were a little intimidated at the beginning because Cairo was so quick and aggressive," Chumbler said. "We could have folded the tent but we did a nice job of coming back, and I’m proud of them."
Mackins played most of the game after injuring his knee in the first quarter while trying to run down a long pass and come to a stop. Despite the injury, Mackins scored 17 points and grabbed 18 rebounds and received a nice ovation from the Cairo fans when he was introduced in the starting lineups.
"Russell was pressing early on and took some shots outside he normally doesn’t take. But he played like a warrior after he got hurt and played great for him to be as hurt as he was," Chumbler said.
Cairo, who was 31-1 last year and blitzed the Wildcats 95-54 in the tournament last year, looked a lot like their old team when they forced six early turnovers and raced out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter.
Scoreless the first 3:22 of the game, Jones got the Wildcats on the board with a jumper as Trigg kept the deficit in single digits the rest of the quarter.
Rodney Davis scored eight straight points, including two long 3-pointers, to tie the game at 20 with 7:23 left in the first half. Davis finished with a game-high 26 points and five assists.
The game stayed close until the end of the first half when Cairo went on a 9-2 run at the end of the quarter to take a 39-32 lead at intermission.
Trigg County found itself fortunate to still be in the game after committing 17 of their 24 turnovers in the first 16 minutes. Cairo took advantage by scoring 22 points of those miscues.
At halftime, Wildcat forward Jamaal Boyd admitted most of the locker room criticism was directed toward him and his first half play.
"I was being weak and not playing like I was supposed to. I got some criticism at halftime and played harder in the second half. It boosted me, and I didn’t want to let the team down," Boyd said.
The junior responded with nine points and nine rebounds in the second half, finishing with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
"I challenged him (at halftime), and he came back and went to war in the second half," Chumbler said.
Like they did in the second quarter, Cairo finished the third frame on a run to pull away from the Wildcats, this time an 8-2 run to lead 57-49.
A Marshall Cook putback with 7:13 left gave Cairo a 61-51 lead, but the Pilots were held scoreless for the next 3:20.
During that span, Trigg County scored six consecutive points and continually chipped away at the lead until a Jones layup with 2:03 left gave the Wildcats their first lead since early in the second quarter at 66-65.
The lead changed hands three more times in the game’s final two minutes, with Jamal McAllister’s bucket with 38 seconds left giving Cairo a 69-68 lead.
After a missed shot by the Wildcats, Cairo missed the front end of a bonus free throw, and Jones was fouled.
The junior guard hit one of two free throws with nine seconds left to tie the game at 69 before setting up the final chain of events involving Mackins and his missed free throws.
"It would have been huge to make them," Mackins said of the free throw chances at the end of regulation. "But we got the win, and that’s what’s important right now. We came together as a team and played as one, and you could really see that tonight."
Trigg County shot 39-percent from the floor and were a season-high 19-of-33 (58-percent) from the free throw line.
Cairo (6-7), who shot 55-percent from the field in the first half, finished 36-of-77 for 47-percent, but didn’t enjoy the same frequency of trips to the charity stripe. The Pilots were 3-of-8 at the free throw line.
Trigg County outrebounded Cairo 45-43, but the Pilots dominated the inside, outscoring Trigg 52-28 in the paint.
"We missed so many opportunities inside. It looked like we rushed some shots, because Cairo can stick with you and block your shot," Chumbler said.
Byron Johnson scored 11 of his 23 points in the second quarter for the Pilots, while Cook added 15 points and 13 rebounds.
The win was Chumbler’s first against Cairo, a school he coached for 21 years before leaving for Paducah Tilghman 13 years ago. The Pilots are coached by Larry Baldwin, who was Chumbler’s assistant coach for seven years.