The McLean County High School boys’ basketball team had a momentous 2019-2020 season, tying the school record for the most wins (22-12), tying for the most wins in the 3rd Region and going the farthest of any Cougar team in the post-season since the 1984 squad also made the Region Semi-Finals.
The 10th District runners-up Cougars faced off against Breckinridge County in the first round of the 3rd Region tournament at the Sportscenter on March 4. A 52-46 victory over the Fighting Tigers advanced McLean County to the semi-finals with a game against Owensboro Catholic on March 7. The Cougars fell 57-40 to the Aces.
McLean County put the first points on the board against Breckinridge County, but did not have the lead again until halfway through the second period. The Cougars had a 23-21 advantage at the half and the score stayed tight until Zach Mimms assisted Brayden Bishop with a long three and Mimms added a basket to give McLean a 10-point lead in the third. The Fighting Tigers lived up to their name and knotted the game up again midway through the final quarter.
The Cougars fell behind by five before chipping away at the deficit and tossing the lead back and forth again with just over a minute to play. The McLean County defense held off the Tigers while making repeated trips to the rim in the final seconds to seal the win 52-46.
Trey Englehardt was perfect from the line and led the Cougars with 13 points, four rebounds and a block. Logan Patterson had 12 points, nine rebounds, five assists and a block. Brady Dame had nine each in points and rebounds along with three assists and a block. Jacob Clark broke his own record for the most three-pointers in a single season during this game with two for a total of 80. Clark had eight points, four rebounds, two steals and an assist.
“I really wanted another shot at Breckinridge County,” shared head coach Darren Lynam. “Our defense really suffocated Kaeveon Mitchell, the 3rd Region Player of the Year. He didn’t score in either the second or third quarter when we first seized control of the game. I was proud of how we hung in there in the middle of the fourth quarter after they rallied to take a lead.”
McLean County fell behind early against Catholic and although they narrowed the gap to a single point a few times, the Cougars failed to gain an advantage. McLean County was down 26-17 at the half and the Aces took the win 57-40.
Logan Patterson led the Cougars with a three-pointer and a total of 22 points, five rebounds and a block. Jacob Clark had 10 points, four rebounds and a steal.
“They have a strong team and played well,” stated Lynam. “We did not play that bad, we just got beat by a little better team. They have resources to draw from that we don’t have and that probably made the difference.”
When asked to comment on the season as a whole, Coach Lynam shared, “We had a heck of a year. We were able to take out the two best players in the Region as we were playing our best basketball of the season in the final month, including the District and Region Tournaments. We had excellent senior leadership from our eight seniors who each led in their own way.”