Trailing by a point inside the final minute, Daviess County turned it on down the stretch on Tuesday night to edge visiting Whitesville Trinity 60-58 in a hotly contested battle at the Daviess County High School gymnasium.
"I liked the way we fought through adversity when we lost the lead," Panthers coach Neil Hayden said. "I thought we showed grit there."
This thriller went right down to the final second.
A driving layup by Landon Hall at 0:55 pushed the Raiders in front 56-55, but DC answered in a big way -- getting a 3-pointer from Logan Hillard at 0:40 and a steal and critical steal and layup by Ryan Thomson at 0:23 to take a four-point lead.
It was, however, far from over.
Ethan Howard's two free throws at 0:11 pulled Trinity within two, and Hillard missed the front end of a one-and-the-bonus free throw opportunity at 0:06. Trinity's Landon Huff rebounded and passed to Howard, who missed a 3-pointer from the left wing just before the final horn.
"I thought some of our defensive options in the second half were really good," said Raiders coach Nathan West, whose club opened the new season on Monday with a 81-56 conquest of visiting Frederick Fraize. "We switched up in the second half, and that worked pretty well for us."
This was a tense, hard-fought battle throughout.
Daviess County, behind Bo Stratton and Hillard, maintained slight control during the first half. The Panthers led 13-10 at the first break and extended their advantage to 28-23 by intermission.
DC opened the second half with a 3-pointer from Hunter Gibson and scored nine of the first 13 points, securing their largest lead of the game -- 37-27 -- on a 16-footer by Cameron Johnson at 3:50 of the third.
Trinity refused to fold, however, and sliced its deficit to just 43-40 entering the final eight minutes.
The Raiders scored eight of the first 10 points of the fourth period and shot in front 48-45 on a driving layup by Ben Goetz at the 5:22 mark.
Johnson responded with a conventional three-point play at 4:41 to pull DC to tie it, but two free throws by Will Edge and a 15-footer by Howard pushed the Raiders in front 52-48 at 3:33.
The Panthers answered at 3:10 with a pointer by Ian Bivens, and it was nip-and-tuck the rest of the way.
Both teams featured balanced attacks.
Daviess County (1-0) got 13 points and a game-best eight rebounds from Johnson, Stratton scored 12 points, and Hillard produced 10 points, six assists and five rebounds.
The Panthers shot well from the field, making 22-of-43 shots (51%), but struggled from the foul stripe, going just 10-of-21 (48%). DC turned the ball over 17 times and narrowly won the rebounding battle, 27-26.
Trinity was led by Howard's game-high 17 points, adding five rebounds and three steals. Landon Huff produced 12 points and six steals, Brenden Wathen scored 12 points, and Goetz secured seven rebounds.
The Raiders finished 19-of-44 from the field for 43% and hit 17-of-22 foul shots for 77%. Trinity committed 15 turnovers.
Daviess County returns to the hardwood Friday at Warren East, and the Raiders remain on the road Thursday to challenge Henderson County.
WHITESVILLE TRINITY 10-23-17-18 -- 58
DAVIESS COUNTY 13-15-15-17 -- 60
Whitesville Trinity (58) -- E. Howard 17, Wathen 12, Huff 12, Goetz 7, Edge 6, Hall 2, Boarman 2.
Daviess County (60) -- Johnson 13, Stratton 12, Hillard 10, Bivens 6, Barron 5, Humphreys 5, Gibson 5, Thomson 4.