ELNORA — Both North Daviess and Northeast Dubois came into the game with nearly identical records of 11-7 and 11-8. And for the most part they looked like they were about as evenly matched as you could get. However, ND was paced by a 12-12 free throw shooting exhibition in the fourth quarter to pick up their 12th win of the year.
Freshman Jaylen Mullen had 16 points, including 9-9, while freshman teammates Logan and Lance Wilson combined for 10.
“This was like a sectional week for us having to play on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. You have to win on Tuesday and that is how we approached it,” said ND coach Brent Dalrymple. “The more you put yourself in positions like this, the easier they become. We made 14-14 the other day so we knew we could do this.
“Jaylen is just so smart with the basketball, and he really led us out there. The same same thing with the Wilsons, they are just showing their confidence.”
The Cougars trailed 3-0 until Jack Townsend connected on a floater in the lane to cut it to 3-2. Mullen added a jumper and Kirk Wagler tied the game at 8-all with a 3-ball. Jeep Reece Bauer added the last three points of the quarter and Dubois was able to go up 11-8.
Jalen Knepp added a pair of Cougar free throws, along with Trevor Riggins, to keep it a one-point game. NED moved out to 15-12, but miss a pair of free throws on an intentional foul, allowing Jaylen Mullen to tie the game on three free throws. NED did come up with final basket of the closely contested second quarter and went into the half with a 19-17 lead.
Riggins and Wagler had the first two buckets of the half for ND, but NED’s Ty Rieker answered with a 3-ball. Cougar freshman Lance Wilson picked up a put-back, but again NED was able to answer with a trey. ND added two blocks during the quarter. ND also picked up scoring from Daryn Lengacher and Logan Wilson giving ND a 30-29 lead, which is how the third quarter would end.
Wilson and Mullen scored to push it to 34-29 and give the Cougars their biggest lead of the night. Riggins added a jumper, as did Mullen, as ND moved out to 38-33 with 3:07 left in the game. Mullen added two more free throws and ND was up by 40-35. Logan Wilson also scored a pair, but NED’s Nick Luken added a 3-ball to keep NED in the game. Ethan Ziegler bombed a 30-footer, but Mullen stayed cool and just kept making free throws, as did Riggins and Wilson, as ND was able to protect its 50-43 win.
Mullen led with 16, while Riggins had eight, Wagler seven, Knepp had four and Townsend had two.
Bauer led NED with 13.
The Cougars took the JV game 36-20. They head to North Knox on Friday and then Eastern Greene on Saturday. NED hosts Perry Central on Friday.