HORSE CAVE – After playing so well to start the fourth quarter, the LaRue County Hawks were left to wonder what might have been had they not dug so big of a hole Friday night.
Second-seeded LaRue County trailed the top-seeded Green County Dragons by 25 late in the third quarter and rallied to within single digits, but the deficit was too great to dig out of in an 85-68 loss in the Boys’ 18th District Tournament title game at Caverna.
The defeat also ended the Hawks’ run of five straight district titles, and it wasn’t hard to see why.
Green County shot 50 percent (24-of-48) from the floor, 60 percent (9-of-15) from the 3-point line and 78 percent (28-of-36) from the foul line to post the most points against LaRue County since East Jessamine hung 87 on the Hawks on Dec. 21, 2011 – a span of 82 games.
Junior guard Micah Wiseman led the Hawks with 23 points and six rebounds, while junior forward Caleb Sheffer added 21 points.
Leading 13-11 after the first quarter, LaRue County (16-13) watched Green County (18-11) hit five 3s in the first 5 minutes of the second, part of a 22-5 run.
It got even worse for the Hawks in the third quarter.
Dragons junior guard Colton Bush, who scored a game-high 32 points, canned a 3 just 19 seconds in before senior guard Jayden Willis added another 44 seconds later for a 43-26 advantage.
An 8-0 run later in the quarter bumped Green County’s lead to 59-34 with 1:33 left in the third.
The Hawks, though, regrouped.
Wiseman made two free throws and senior guard Michael Neal’s steal and layup narrowed the gap to 21 going into the fourth quarter. The Hawks then scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter, pulling within 59-49 with 6:33 left in the game on Sheffer’s three-point play.
LaRue County just couldn’t get over the hump, however, closing within nine on Wiseman’s layup with 2:06 to play, but that was as close as it would get.
The Hawks made their final 15 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter and finished 26-of-28 from the line overall.
It was the third time Green County has beat LaRue County his season.
Senior forward Tyler Howell, who had nine points, made the All-Tournament team along with Wiseman and Sheffer. Howell and senior guard Kody Key-Close were named to the All-District regular season squad.
Sophomore guard Dominique Compton scored 25 points for the Dragons.
LaRue County now must await the draw for the Boys’ 5th Region Tournament on Sunday to see who it will play next week at Marion County.