Cole Dixon hit the game winning shot with four seconds on the clock and the Hornets defeated Breckinridge County 51-49 to win the 11th District championship Friday night at Cloverport. It is the first district title for the Hancock County boys since the 2016-17 season.
“We made big shots and they made big shots. This had to be a heck of a game from a fan’s prospective,” HCHS coach Mike Orr said. “Both teams played so hard. I’m excited to be bringing a district championship back to Hancock County.”
The Hornets improved their record to 18-11 on the season and will face Butler County in the 3rd Region tournament at the Owensboro Sportscenter on Thursday, March 2 at 6:00 pm.
The Hornets took charge in the first quarter on Friday when Evan Ferry scored twice on drives inside the paint. Devyn Powers and Luke Brown both sank 3-point baskets and Dixon hit a basket. Hancock led 13-10 at the first break.
Ferry continued to control the pace while scoring four times, including a 3-point play during the second period. Powers connected from beyond the arc again when his shot bounced high off the rim and fell through the net. The halftime score was 27-24 in favor of the Hornets. Jonah Miller, Wyatt Burnett and Hunter Barr all hit 3’s for the Fighting Tigers.
Kaleb Keown got going offensively when he hit three baskets in the third frame. Powers canned two foul shots and he and Ferry both scored at the rim as Hancock County increased the lead to 39-32.
Breck County started coming back in the fourth with a team effort led by Mercer Rogers.
Powers scored three more times, but the Tigers continued to claw their way back and eventually took a one point lead late in the game. The Hornets missed out on two 1+1 opportunities at the foul line during Breck’s run.
Still trailing by one point, Keown buried a “3” that put the Hornets back ahead with 30 seconds on the clock, but it was far from over.
Miller banked in a shot from beyond the arc at the 16 second mark and the Tigers were again ahead by one point.
Hancock County inbounded the ball under heavy pressure and advanced it across half-court before calling timeout.
Time was running out and Ferry passed to Keown at the top of the key. Keown found Dixon at the wing and the senior dribbled left and pulled up for a 15 foot jumper. The shot went in and the Hornets led 50-49 with 4.2 seconds remaining. The Hancock County crowd was screaming victory, but the game was still in doubt.
The Tigers had won on a last second inbound and basket against Meade County in the first round of the tourney, and they looked to do it again.
Breck County tried to throw the ball in to their big man, Barr, but Dixon intercepted the pass and was immediately fouled with two seconds. Dixon hit the first free throw to give the Hornets a two point lead. His second shot bounced off the rim and Barr’s final desperate attempt from beyond half-court came up short.
The HCHS student section poured onto the court and the celebration began!
“I can’t say enough about Evan,” coach Orr said. “He’s the consummate basketball player. And Devyn… what a game he had. He hit some big shots cutting back door. Cole stepped up big and Luke played his butt off. Kaleb hit a huge “3” and owned the boards for us.”
Hancock County made 21 of 44 field goal attempts for 47.7% shooting. The Hornets made 5 of 12 free throws.
Breck County made 16 of 42 attempts from the field for 38%. They made 10 of 13 foul shots.
Powers led all scorers with 18 points, adding three rebounds and one assist. Ferry had 16 points, three boards, three assists, two steals and one block. Keown had nine points, 10 boards, three steals and two blocks. Dixon had five points, five boards, four assists, one block and one steal. Brown had three points, two boards and four assists. Dylan Morris and Jordan Payne also saw game action.
Barr led Breck County with 12 points. Miller and Burnett scored 11 points each.
By Steve Wimmer