ND basketball

Jaylen Mullen handles the ball for North Daviess at USI Arena on Friday in the River City Showcase.

EVANSVILLE — The North Daviess Cougars helped christen USI’s screaming Eagle Arena on Friday, but unfortunately it was Mater Dei that got to break the bottle. In the second game of the the River City Showdown in the brand new facility, it was the Wildcats that came away with the 61-51 victory.

Although the Cougars (0-2) had the game tied in the fourth quarter, Mater Dei was able to go on a 19-11 run to pick up the win.

ND did put three players in double figures, with Jack Townsend and Trevor Riggins getting 15 each and Kirk Wagler adding 11, but Mater Dei was able to use its speed and rebounding to garner the win.

Mater Dei pulled out to a 7-0 lead in the first 2:30 of the initial quarter. However, Jack Townsend added a long trey, along with a bucket from Trevor Riggins to cut the lead to 9-5. MD went on a 4-0 run. But it was countered by Riggins and Kirk Wagler to keep the game at just four, 13-9. Jaylen Mullen added a free throw and ND was able to pull to within three, 13-10.

A Riggins 3-ball tied the game at 15-all, but again the Wildcats were able to go on a 9-0 run, before a Townsend trey stopped the bleeding. Riggins got the game back to six and a free throw from Kirk Wager helped ND into the locker room down just 33-26.

Wagler opened the second half with a trey and a free throw, and ND had the lead back to 33-30 in less than two minutes. Riggins added a basket that cut it back to just one, while a Townsend score gave ND its first of the half. Jalen Knepp also got in the scoring column and tied the game at 38-all. North Daviess outscored MD 14-9 in the third, but still trailed 42-40 going into the final eight minutes.

Mullen added two more free throws to even the game at 42-42. The lead see-sawed with the Cats going up 49-46 with 4:40 left.

Mullen had a nice move to the basket at 2:20 that cut it to 54-49, as ND and MD begin to trade buckets. The Cats added a pair of late free throws to make it 61-51 which is how the game would end.

Also scoring for ND were Jalen Knepp and Jaylen Mullen with five each while Knepp also led with seven boards. ND only turned the ball over eight times, but shot only 20 of 50 from the floor.

Mater Dei was led by Jackson Hiester with 19 and Tyler Phelps with 14.

The Cougars host Perry Central on Friday, before traveling to Washington next Saturday.

In the first game of the Showcase, North Posey easily handled Boonville, 72-38.

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