The Third Region Basketball tournament got underway at the Owensboro Sportsplex on March 22 with the Meade County High School Greenwave taking on the Owensboro Catholic Aces. These two teams met just 11 days ago in their regular season final game, with Meade coming out on top.
At the start of the game, it looked like O-Cath was ready to put pressure on Meade’s offensive scheme disrupting their outside shooting and making it difficult to get the ball down low, which allowed O-Cath to grab rebounds to transition to offense quickly. This allowed O-Cath to jump out in front of Meade and build a nine-point lead midway through the first, prompting Meade Head Coach Jason Tripure to call a timeout and gather his players. Meade came out in their press defense which worked on slowing O-Cath’s offense down and allowed Meade to close the gap. Senior Dylan Abell came out of the timeout hitting a pair of three-pointers to get Meade to within three, but O-Cath answered right back hitting a pair of their own back-to-back three-pointers to end the first up by eight.
“I told them before we came out that we better come out and be ready to battle,” Tripure said of how he wanted the team to play, “but when we got pushed around on the first three rebounds, and they turn around to come down and score, I was like this is exactly what we didn’t need to happen. We came back with a three but just couldn’t get anything to go after that until Dylan hit that pair of threes, but again they came right back to hit a three of their own, so it was basically a wash.”
During the second period, Meade would close the gap on O-Cath’s lead, but somehow O-Cath would find a way to keep their marginal lead by six-eight points. Even with Tripure trying to rotate different players in to come up with player mismatches, the O-Cath coach would do the same. At the half, Meade went to the locker room still trailing by nine and looking for answers.
“It just seemed like we were fighting back the whole time. We would cut it back to get within two or three, then they’d come right back down and hit a pair of threes to get back out by six or eight. The boys definitely battled the whole game, and they never gave up. We just couldn’t get that rhythm and keep them from scoring,” Tripure said.
After the half, both teams began picking up their physical play under the net, as well as going for loose balls, and it was very noticeable that the refs were letting the players play and keeping their whistles silent. Meade began slowly chipping away at O-Cath’s lead towards the end of the third. With just two minutes left in the period, Meade got to within two points, but O-Cath found a way to spread their lead to just six by the end of the period.
In the fourth, Meade began slowing down O-Cath down low, by cutting off the base line and middle, forcing them to take the outside shots, but that only slowed them down, it did not stop them, and midway through the fourth, O-Cath had spread their lead back to 11 over Meade and were feeling pretty good.
“There was a couple of calls that didn’t go our way that could have gotten us closer when we needed them. Like when Cam went in and got called for a charge, that call goes the other way and it’s a three-point play that gets us to within two points, but instead it’s a foul they get the ball, hit a three-pointer and now we’re down by eight. That’s the way our whole night went, and I hate it for them because they played so hard.”
O-Cath kept that momentum going through the rest of the fourth period. Even though Meade would come up with steals on defense that turned into spurts of offensive points, there just was not enough time to mount a comeback.
Meade was not able to advance in the Regional Tournament and would have to pack their bags for the final time once again in Owensboro. The team would finish the season with a 9-11 season record, and as the District 11 Champions.