Two regular season losses to Caldwell County with a chance to avenge them in the district championship game.
As was the case in 1997, Trigg County rebounded from a pair of losses to the Tigers and won the Fifth District title. Their latest conquest was a 77-60 win over Caldwell Friday before a packed Wildcat Gym.
The district title is Trigg County’s 12th overall and second in two years.
"It’s a good time to put things together," said Wildcat coach Bill Chumbler. "We lost some tough games in the past few weeks that I thought prepared us for this game."
Trigg County started fast and finished strong, leading by as many as 22 points in the second half.
Rodney Davis and Jeremy Jones both nailed 3-pointers from the left side in the game’s first minute, setting the tone for the game.
A 3-point play and another bucket by Jamaal Boyd extended the Wildcat lead to 11-2 before Caldwell scored the next seven points to pull to within 11-9.
Jones drilled another 3-pointer that ignited a 10-2 run that put Trigg ahead 21-11 with 1:19 left in the first quarter.
"We can’t play at that pace. It got to fast for us. They hit those first two shots, and I don’t think we ever recovered," said Caldwell coach Michael Fraliex, who won district titles as a Tiger player twice.
Caldwell County trimmed the Trigg lead to 31-23 on a 3-pointer by Matt Fraliex with 3:43 left in the half. It was the first points of the game for the sophomore, who entered the game averaging over 22 points a game.
"We were playing good man-to-man defense, but we switched to a 1-3-1 zone and shaded toward Fraliex. I thought we did a pretty good job on him," Chumbler said.
Fraliex finished with 21 points, but only had five points in the first half.
The scoring slack for Caldwell in the first half was picked up by Allen Wadlington, who scored 13 of his 18 points before intermission.
Trigg County ended the first half on a 7-2 run, fueled by a Zack Wright 3-pointer and a bucket by Jones just before the halftime horn.
The Wildcats led 41-27 at halftime, thanks to a 61-percent shooting performance from the floor.
Trigg "cooled off" to 54-percent in the second half and finished 28-of-49 (57-percent) for the game.
Any hopes of a Caldwell County comeback in the second half was quickly dashed as the Wildcats opened the third quarter on an 11-4 run, with T.J. O’Hara picking up five points during that stretch.
Down 52-31, Caldwell answered with a 13-4 run to pull to within 56-44 with 7:54 left in the game, but the Wildcats scored the next ten points for the biggest lead of the night at 66-44 with 5:07 left in the game.
The Wildcats were aided by the absence of Tiger point guard Levi Glover, who sat out the tournament for academic reasons.
Glover averaged 18 points and five assists in Caldwell’s two wins over Trigg County earlier in the year.
His absence was glaring on the offensive end as the Tigers only had seven assists as a team, and the guards (other than Fraliex) scored just 11 points.
"Levi averages 10 points and six assists, so when you take that away, we lose 22 points right there," the Caldwell coach noted. "We could have done more on defense with him because he covers so much ground with our zones and applies pressure on the press."
Without Glover in the lineup, the Wildcat guards were able to penetrate into the lane and find the Wildcat big men, who hit most of the shots they took.
Jamaal Boyd, O’Hara, and Turner combined to hit 14-of-19 shots from the field, score 32 points, and grab 13 rebounds.
"We did a good job of getting the ball inside to Kenny and Jamaal, and we got some easy buckets in transition when Caldwell collapsed inside," Chumbler said.
Jones led Trigg County with 21 points, while Davis added 19, including 9-of-12 from the free throw line.
Allen Wadlington joined Fraliex in double figures for Caldwell County with 18 points and seven rebounds.
Both the Wildcats (19-9) and the Tigers (15-14) moved into this week’s Second Region Tournament at Hopkinsville. Caldwell County played Providence Monday, while Trigg County played Hopkins County Central Tuesday.