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It was a game played in spurts of alternating momentum between the Carroll County Panthers and the visiting Trimble County Raiders, on Tuesday, Feb. 2. The neighboring county schools renewed their rivalry for the third time this season—each team having won on the opposing team’s floor in previous meetings.
Initially, it was Carroll County with the hot hand, leaping out to a nine-point advantage midway through the first quarter of play before Trimble cut the deficit to five. Carroll opened a 13-point advantage with five minutes to go in the second quarter. Trimble rallied to pull within seven, 32-25, at halftime.
Trimble eliminated Carroll’s advantage in the third period, pulling ahead with 2:21 on the clock but the Panthers evened the score at 42-42 at quarter’s end.
“We were trying to run some time off the clock,” Trimble Head Coach Bob Lauster said of the Raiders’ brief advantage in the third period. “There were some possessions that we needed better shot selection. We needed to move the ball around a little more than we did.”
Neither team could garner more than a two-point advantage during the first six minutes of the final quarter. Even then, Carroll’s 59-55 lead with 1:52 remaining was not a comfortable margin. A basket by Josh Edington on the next possession pulled the Raiders within 59-57. But that basket was Trimble’s last hurrah as Carroll County hit three free throws over the remaining distance for the final 62-57 margin. The win was the second in a row for the Panthers who broke a six-game losing streak at Eminence on the previous Saturday.
Carroll senior Will Yager had the hot hand in the first half against the Raiders, canning 16 points, including four three-point baskets.
“We gave Yager way too many looks in the first half,” Lauster said. “We helped each other key in on him better in the second half. He had a great game!”
Yager led all scorers with 30 points for Carroll County. Ethan Stewart scored 12 points and Andy Sisenstein added 10 for the Panthers.
“It tied his career high,” Panther Head Coach Carroll Yager said of his son. “He had 30 last year against Gallatin. He had a really, really good game tonight against Trimble.”
Justin Webb led the Raider scoring attack with 17 points. Ethan Turner scored 11 and Craig Ward just missed double figures with nine points.
While attendance at Trimble/Carroll matchups is nothing like past decades, Lauster insists each basketball matchup is still an intense rivalry between the two schools.
“I guarantee you it is for our kids,” he said. “Our kids are very sincere about it. Their work in practice (before a Carroll County game) is more intense than any other game all year.”
“I think it’s still a good rivalry but it’s not the rivalry that it was back when I played in the 1970s,” Yager said. “I think the rivalry was great then because we were both in the same District. The fact that Trimble is in another District now may have hurt the rivalry some. It’s a good rivalry, make no mistake about that. Both schools really get up for that game.”
Statistically, the game reflected the scoreboard as Carroll County connected on 22 of 46 field goal attempts for 48 percent. The Raiders canned 22 of 49 field goal shots for 45 percent. The Panthers converted 11 of 14 free throw attempts for 79 percent while Trimble sank nine of 14 free tosses for 64 percent. Carroll held a 28-25 rebounding advantage.
“This game reminded me a lot of our first matchup at our gym” in December, Lauster said. “It was an exciting game to watch. It was an exciting game to coach. I’m really proud of our kids. They stayed with it, fought back and got the lead. Carroll County managed to make the plays they needed to and some of the things we needed to make happen in the last couple of minutes didn’t happen for us.”