• 39°

Bobcats hold off Hornets late comeback

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

COAL GROVE — Coach Kevin Vanderhoof gave his team an “A” for effort. The Green Bobcats got an “A” for results.
Coal Grove fought back from a 19-point deficit to begin the fourth quarter and closed to within four points, but the Bobcats regrouped and held on a for a 71-65 season opening win on Saturday.
“(The Hornets) made me fall in love with them tonight with the effort they gave. We got down 21 at one time and came back like a ball of fire. I was nervous before the game. I didn’t know what to expect from this team,” said Vanderhoof.
“But Green has a nice team. You can’t take anything away from them. They did a nice job. They have some nice players.”
Coal Grove was led by Aaron Music with 21 points and 13 rebounds with seven assists. Jaylen McKenzie got 13 points while Nate Harmon scored nine, Cory Borders and Payten Smith eight each and Evan Gannon five.
Gage Sampson and Tanner Kimbler combined for 45 points to lead the Bobcats. Sampson had 23 points and Kimbler 22.
Tayte Carver was in double figures with 11 points. Ethan Huffman scored seven, Zach Huffman six and Caden Blizzard two.
“We looked great offensively and defensively for three quarters and then we couldn’t do anything right in the fourth quarter,” said Green coach Dirk Hollar.
“We turned it over, Sampson fouled out, Zach Huffman was playing with four fouls. We were up 21 points at one point and won by six. The biggest factor was that the Coal Grove kids did not stop. Those boys played their guys out in the fourth (quarter). We gave them life and they pounced on it.”
Green led 20-12 after the first quarter and stretched the lead to 39-21 at the half. The Hornets were just 9-of-28 from the field in the half for 32 percent.
The lead grew to 53-32 in the third quarter and was 57-38 at the end of the stanza.
Music scored eight points in the fourth quarter as Coal Grove cut the deficit to 64-60.
But Green converted 8-of-12 from the foul line down the stretch to secure the win.
“It took us a long time to get going. Once we got our fullcourt press, we started to come back,” said Vanderhoof.
Not only was this a tough game, but Hollar said the schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Bobcats.
“It’s a big win to start our season. We have another tough battle on Tuesday at Rock Hill, then head to Portsmouth on Wednesday. This is a tough schedule and when tournament time comes, we will be ready,” said Hollar.
Coal Grove visits Raceland, Ky., on Tuesday.
Green 20 19 18 14 = 71
Coal Grove 12 9 17 27 = 65
GREEN (1-0): Tanner Kimbler 22, Tayte Carver 11, Gage Sampson 23, Zach Huffman 6, Ethan Huffman 7, Caden Blizzard 2.
COAL GROVE (0-1): Aaron Music 21, Jaylen McKenzie 13, Nate Harmon 9, Cory Borders 8, Payten Smith 8, Evan Gannon 5.