Prior to the Meade County High School Greenwave Basketball team taking to the court in their last regular season game against the Central Hardin Bruins on Feb. 20, they honored their three departing senior players and manger, along with the MCHS Dance team seniors. Meade was hoping to end their three-game losing streak, and put their Tuesday night loss behind them, in the hopes of finishing the regular season play on a high note with a win before getting ready for the first round of district play. Both teams came out playing a very tight defense in the first period, keeping the scoring to a minimum on both sides of the scoreboard. With Meade’s defense falling back into their zone, it seemed to be working for them as they kept Central Hardin from getting the ball down low to score from underneath the basket, forcing them to take the long shots from outside. By the end of the first period Meade only trailed Central by two-points as they kept pace with the score 8-10 Bruins. In the second period, each time the Central would start to put together a rally and make a run, Meade would bounce back with some tough defense to fight back and to close the gap. This type of play kept the game close, and Meade was able to finally get out in front of Central to take a four-point lead with less than two-minutes remaining in the half. After calling a timeout, Central was able to close the gap on Meade and as time ran out in the half, Central dropped in a last second jumper to grab the lead over Meade by a score of 19-20 at the half.
“I thought the boys played hard and were able to play the game that we know they can in the first half,” Coach Tripure said of the teams first half play. “We made a few mistakes but were able to bounce back from them and not let them get to far out in front of us. If you can keep the score tight it only takes a miscue by either team, or the game momentum can switch quickly. So I thought we did a good job at not letting them run away from us.”
Central came out of halftime to start the period with a quick seven-point run, spreading the lead out even further, forcing Coach Tripure to use a timeout to settle his team down and break Central’s momentum before it got too far out of hand. After the timeout Meade began playing a more aggressive defense, which slowed Central’s offensive game down, but didn’t stop them from scoring. That aggressiveness to get the ball back allowed Meade to get back in the game, bouncing back from a 14-point deficit to get to within eight by the end of the third. With only eight minutes remaining in Meade’s regular season, they switched up their defense once again on Central and played with a tenacity and vigor that Central wasn’t ready for, as Meade grabbed rebound after rebound to close the gap on Central using fast breaks, and power under the basket. Meade got to within three with just under two-minutes remaining when senior Parker Johnston was fouled, then a Central player was assessed a technical which put Johnston on the line with four free throws. Johnston would nail all four to give Meade a one-point lead and the ball back.
“We got down a little in the third, but the boys battled back hard and did a great job of staying out of four trouble. I’m not sure what the Technical was, but it gave us four free throws and the ball back,” Tripure said of the break they got, “It helped us that’s for sure, but we’ll take it. Parker hitting all four, then getting the ball back sure got us the momentum that’s for sure.”
It seemed that was the momentum that Meade needed to make sure that they weren’t going to give this game to Central until they tied the game up by dropping in one of two free throws. Then with just a little under 10-seconds left Central hit a put back to take the two-point lead. Rather than call a timeout and let Central get set in their defense, Meade opted to bring the ball up court quickly, and as Central’s defense concentrated on stopping the ball carrier, Canon Decker, they left Johnston alone in the corner. Decker dropped the ball to Johnston as he drove for the basket, where Johnston took aim from beyond the three-point arc, and as everyone in the stands took in a deep breath, the ball hit nothing but net with only 2.1 seconds left on the clock giving Meade the one-point lead over Central.
“We knew that we had to execute on offense, which we did. We know that in situations like this everyone has to do what they can to get open, and I just happen to be that guy that was there when the pass came,” Johnston said of his game winning shot, “It feels pretty great to end the season this way, but we still have Districts and hopefully Regionals to play.”
After a timeout Central tried to get the ball up the court and get a shot off, but Meade’s defense did allow for them to take anything that would remotely give them a chance to even tie the game, let a lone win it.
“This is the way to end on senior night, I’m happy for them, but also for the whole team. They played hard tonight, and now we have some good momentum going into next weeks tournament, so overall it was a pretty good night.” Tripure said of the teams win.
Box score 1 2 3 4 F
Central Hardin 10 10 13 11 44
Meade County 8 11 6 20 45
B. Blakenship-3, C. Crump-2, C-Decker-2