CALHOUN — McLean County put together a fourth quarter Tuesday night that will stand as one of its best in the history of its boys’ basketball program.
The Cougars outscored Ohio County 7-2 in the final two minutes on the way to a 53-47 win over the Eagles in the first round of the 10th District Tournament at McLean County.
McLean County took a 44-40 lead early in the fourth quarter, then it held a 46-42 lead and the teams went at each other defensively over the next three minutes. The Cougars were up 46-45 after a Shane Frady reverse basket with 2:46 left.
Logan Patterson converted a traditional 3-point play for a 49-45 Cougar lead. Frady trimmed that to 49-47 with two free throws with 1:46 left in regulation.
Brady Dame came up with the play of the game when he made a steal and drove for an open layup for a 51-47 McLean County advantage with 27 seconds left.
Dame finished with 11 rebounds and six points.
“I was just doing my role,” Dame said.
Jacob Clark sealed the win with two free throws with 10.8 seconds left and started the celebration.
Clark led all scorers with 22 points, including four 3-pointers, three in the first quarter.
“We stopped them from shooting so many 3s, played good man-to-man defense, kept them out of the lane,” Clark said of the difference in the game. “We spread them out, got in the lane, got open shots, we played really good offense down the stretch. We stayed calm, stayed with it.”
McLean County did appear to be the more poised team down the stretch, although it trailed 28-22 at halftime.
“They hit some 3s early, they score half their points on 3s, and I told our guys at halftime, if they had 28 points, 15 on 3s, they were doing what they do,” McLean County coach Darren Lynam said. “We had to hunker down on defense and hope they start missing the second half.
“I was going to switch to zone a couple of times, but we stayed man, played really solid. Slowly but surely we came back, caught them, got the lead and finish them off.”
Patterson added 12 points and 10 rebounds for McLean County. The Cougars outrebounded Ohio County 30-18. McLean County made 20-of-43 from the floor for 46.5%.
McLean County (21-10) will go to the 3rd Region Tournament for the first time since 2015
“We hit the high post, got the ball inside, Clark got hot from the 3-point line,” Lynam said. “Our offense stayed steady, theirs dropped off the second half. Defense won the game.”
Ohio County had averaged 70.9 points a game but was held to its lowest point total of the season.
Leading scorer Tripp Manning was held to eight points, which was also what Trey Lewis scored.
“We chased Manning everywhere basically, tried to wear him out,” Lynam said “Brayden Bishop was assigned to him. We were trying to get out on their shooters, make them drive to the basket because their forte is shooting 3s.”
Ohio County was 7-of-21 on 3-pointers and made 15-of-45 from the floor for 33.3%. Ohio County was 8-of-9 from the free-throw line.
Frady scored 14 points to lead Ohio County and Elijah Decker added 11.
The Eagles finished 22-8.
“We made shots in the first half, didn’t make them the second half,” Ohio County coach Tony Hopper said. “The team we’ve been all year, you look at the final score, we play our best when we’re in the 70s and 80s, we didn’t do that tonight.
“We got open looks, we need to make some of them. We’re pretty good at those kind of shots.”
Five seniors finished their Ohio County careers.
“Our seniors did an unbelievable job,” Hopper said. “We won games we shouldn’t have won, we fought, battled, that’s who they were. They left a great example for the younger guys.’
McLEAN COUNTY 16-6-18-13 — 53
OHIO COUNTY 16-12-12-7 — 47
McLean County (53) — Clark 22, Patterson 12, Dame 6, Springer 6, Englehardt 4, Bishop 3.
Ohio County (47) — Frady 14, Decker 11, Manning 8, Lewis 8, Pharis 6.