The fast-improving Apollo High School boys’ basketball team couldn’t quite get over the hump on Tuesday night.
Kaeveon Mitchell produced 21 points, five assists, four steals, four rebounds and three blocks as visiting Breckinridge County held off the determined Eagles, 66-63, in Eagle Arena.
“We got lucky,” said Patrick Critchelow, who posted his first victory ever at Apollo in 13 seasons as Breck County’s head coach. “I’m telling you, in the 3rd Region this season anybody can beat anybody on a given night.”
The Fighting Tigers (12-4) trailed 58-57 after Apollo’s Cameron Frantz scored on a driving layup with 4:30 to play, but a 3-pointer by Breck’s Kason Morris triggered a 6-0 burst that pushed the visitors in front, 63-58.
The Eagles, however, refused to fold — scoring five of the next seven points and drawing within two on Harrison Bowman’s 14-foot baseline jumper at 1:05.
Mitchell hit one of two free throws with 35.6 seconds to play to stretch the Tigers’ lead back to three, but Apollo had an open shot to tie it just before the final horn — Frantz misfiring on a top-of-the-key 3-pointer.
“These kids continue to work hard every day, and I thought we really battled in this one,” Eagles head coach Steve Barker said. “We’re competing, we’re giving ourselves a chance to win — it’s taken some time, but we’re getting there.
“We need one guy to step up and make that big-time play to sort of get us over the top in games like this — but I’m proud of the effort, and I believe our team will continue to move in the right direction the rest of the way.”
Breck County seized early control, getting eight first-quarter points from Justin Shrewsberry to build a 20-11 advantage.
Apollo came to life in the second period, however, getting seven points from Harrison Bowman and a pair of 3-pointers from Frantz. The Eages’ 20-10 second-period run put them on top at intermission, 31-30.
The Tigers picked up the pace at both ends of the floor in the third period, with Isaac Seeger scoring seven points to help his team build a 51-45 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
Adam Fitzgerald opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and Malik Wilson followed with a steal and layup to pull Apollo within 51-50, and it was a back-and-forth battle the rest of the way.
In addition to Mitchell’s production, Breck County got 13 points and 11 rebounds from Shrewsberry, 12 points from Seeger and 11 points from Morris.
The Tigers were 24-of-56 from the field for 43%, made 16-of-22 free throws for 73% and turned the ball over only nine times.
Apollo (3-16) got solid production from Wilson (17 points, six rebounds, three steals), Bowman (15 points), Landon Hamilton (12 rebounds), Frantz (11 points, three assists), and Ryan Ash (eight rebounds).
The Eagles finished 24-of-51 from the field (47%), 9-of-15 from the foul stripe (60%), outrebounded Breck 38-29 and committed 15 floor mistakes.
Apollo is back in action at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, hosting Evansville Central.
BRECKINRIDGE COUNTY20-10-21-15 — 66
APOLLO11-20-14-18 — 63
Breckinridge County (66) — Mitchell 21, Shrewsberry 13, Seeger 12, Morris 11, B. Lucas 5, Irwin 4.
Apollo (63) — Wilson 17, Bowman 15, Frantz 11, St. Claire 6, Hamilton 6, Ash 5, Fitzgerald 3.