ELNORA — The North Daviess basketball team played three strong quarters Saturday night, but that wasn't enough.
The Cougars (1-1) lost to Vincennes Rivet, 43-41 at the Cougar Den after their comeback attempt fell short.
The Cougars were able to keep close to the Patriots for the first half, going into half time down 18-16. After halftime however, the Patriots seemed to have the Cougars' number, going up 30-20 in the third quarter. Despite the 10-point deficit, the Cougars were able to fight back. Going on a 9-2
“We made a few adjustments,” said North Davies head coach Brent Dalrymple. “Defensively we have got to prevent the offensive rebound, and offensively we’ve got to work on getting other guys involved. It was getting away from us a bit, but bottom line is we got to make some shots. Once we started making shots we got back into the game.”
Most of those shots came from senior guard Alex Wittmer. Wittmer led the Cougars in scoring with 15 points and had four assists for the night. Dusten Cook and Austin Buehler added 12 points each and Kelby Byrer added two points. With Wittmer leading the way, the Cougars were able to tie the game at 34 in the fourth quarter.
“When it got tied 34-34, that was really a watershed moment,” said Vincennes Rivet head coach Adam Ballard. “The game could have gone good or bad. Our kids really buckled down and took care of the ball, and made their free throws, and played great defense.”
Despite the Patriots' efforts, North Daviess was able to keep the game close. A North Daviess three-pointer and a missed free throw by Rivet gave the Cougars the ball back with 13 seconds to play, while trailing 43-41.
“We had two fouls to give,” said Ballard. “So, when they had to take it full court we wanted to foul them as soon as they took it past half court.”
After the foul the Cougars had 10 seconds remaining to get to the basket. The plan was to get the ball to Wittmer. Wittmer got the ball and headed down court quickly, only to be forced to the outside by the Patriot defense.
“You give it to our playmaker and let him go to the basket and create,” said Dalrymple. “He got funneled to one side, and time got away from me and I couldn’t call a timeout.”
As time expired Wittmer stepped behind the three-point line for a desperation shot but the ball was tipped as it left his hand and fell well short of the basket, giving the Patriots the win.
“Rivet is a good basketball team,” said Dalrymple. “They came in here and earned a victory.”