It was a clash of two heavyweight teams when Hancock County and Owensboro met in a season opening basketball game Tuesday. The Hornets battled down to the wire with OHS before the Red Devils prevailed at home by a final score of 76-71.
“We competed and we had stretches where we played very good basketball. But, they speed us up and got us doing things out of character on the half court. That’s what they do,” HCHS coach Mike Orr said after the game.
Owensboro’s quickness and defensive pressure resulted in an early 6-1 lead for the Red Devils, but the Hornets were not intimidated. Hancock County settled themselves and went on a 16-4 run behind the play of Ryan Ogle. The senior converted a conventional 3-point play before splashing two 3’s from beyond the arc. Devyn Powers and Kaleb Keown both scored from the field while Even Ferry dished the assists and the Hornets led 17-12 at the first horn.
Talas Taylor and Dayshaun Sanders took charge for the Red Devils during the second frame as the home team exploded for 29 points in the second quarter. Hancock County increased its offensive output as well, scoring 19 points, but the home team went to the locker room with a 41-36 edge.
The Hornets came out strong in the second half as Keown and Cole Dixon led the comeback charge. Keown seemed to score from everywhere on the court until finally tying the game at 56-56 with a “3” at the buzzer to end the third.
The Red Devils regained the lead early in the fourth while the Hornets scraped and clawed to stay close. Ogle converted twice on critical 1-and-1 opportunities at the foul line while Powers and Keown continued to score for HCHS. Owensboro got loose on a couple of breakaways near the end when the Hornets failed to get back quick enough and that sealed the win for OHS.
“They’re a load and they’re the regional favorite,” Orr said about OHS. “But we made some big plays and we kept fighting and competing. I’m proud of that but I am disappointed in our execution after we crossed half court. We’ll have to figure out a way to beat those guys if we’re going to get where we want to go.”
Keown finished with 29 points to lead all scorers while adding nine rebounds. Ogle had 17 points, six boards, one block and one steal, and Powers had 12 points, with two boards, two assists and one steal. Dixon had eight points, with two boards, five assists and one steal, Evan Ferry had three points, four boards, seven assists and one steal, and Luke Brown had two points and one assist.
Freshman Jonathan Moss led OHS with 19 points.