Coach Jimmy Goebel and his NCOE Junior Cardinal basketball team traveled to Gallatin County Monday evening to take part in the Gallatin County Tournament. The Jr. Cards tipped tournament action off against– what most felt would be the tourney favorite– the Hardin County Jr. Cougars.
NCOE started the contest out strong as Preston Long knocked down a three pointer off of a pass from Cord Tucker to give the Jr. Cards the early 3-0 lead. Following two more three’s from Long and Tucker the lead swelled to 9-0 forcing Hardin County to call a timeout. Hardin County did regroup after this break and adjust their defense but NCOE would manage to hold on to claim the 11-5 lead following one quarter of play. Second quarter action did find the Jr. Cougars picking up the defensive pressure even more to force several NCOE turnovers which ended up in Hardin County claiming the halftime lead 16-15.
Second half action was back and forth most of the way but NCOE was able to regain their lead as the third quarter ended 23- 21. This fourth and final quarter was very intense as the Junior Cardinals once again found themselves trailing their opponent with time winding down but lots of defensive pressure and free throw conversions late in the game enabled NCOE to regain their lead and fend off any last second heroics as they captured the 35-32 victory.
Preston Long led the scoring for NCOE (3-1) with 15 points. Cord Tucker and Colter Rister followed with eight points apiece while Joel Hortin and Will Thompson added two points each. Cord Tucker, Joel Hortin, and Cole Roberson topped the team with two assists each along with one from Colter Rister.
Will Thompson and Preston Long shared rebounding honors as each collected five boards a piece. Others with rebounds were Joel Hortin four, Colter Rister two, and one each for Cole Roberson, Cord Tucker, and Erik Healy. The steals category was topped by Long as gathered seven on the evening followed by two a piece from Rister and Thompson while Aryon Jolley added one.