CARBONDALE — Hardin County rallied from 10 points down at the end of the third quarter to close within one with 2:09 remaining, but Cobden held on for a 38-35 win in a non-conference boys basketball game played on Cobden’s home away from home at Unity Point Elementary School on Wednesday night.
“We got that stop at the end,” said Cobden coach Wendell Wheeler. “You have to give them credit - that’s a very well coached team that plays hard, so we’ll take this win any night of the week. We had three other guys in addition to Tyler Franklin hitting 3’s and that was a huge help."
Cobden extended its win streak to three games to improve to 12-5 on the season while Hardin County saw its five-game win streak snapped to fall to 10-7.
“We played the game we wanted to play, but we made some bad choices throughout the game, times getting off some quick shots, but overall we pretty much controlled the game and time of possession,” said Hardin County coach Rodney Lane. “What really hurt us was the missed layups. We missed two wide open layups in the first half and two more in the third quarter.”
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Franklin led Cobden and the game with 15 points, including three from beyond the arc. Elliott Lowndes added nine. Gavin Smith led the Cougars with 11 points that included three from long distance. Jake Vaughn and Bryson Cullum finished with nine points each.
Cobden had a great night shooting making 14-of-25 from the field, including 7-of-12 from beyond the arc.
“If we can get shots up we’re pretty effective,” Wheeler said. “We have to do a better job of getting shots on our possessions like in the fourth quarter when we took only two.”
Hardin County began its rally with Jake Vaughn at the line splitting a pair of free throws at the 1:49 mark. Ben Vaughn cut the lead to seven with a reverse layup, but Franklin erased the two points with a one-hander in the lane 24 seconds later.
Smith swished a 3-pointer 30 seconds later to cut the lead to six. Jake Vaughn added a one-hander in the lane and Smith sank his third 3-pointer of the game to cut the lead to one.
On Cobden’s next possession, Lowndes lost control of the ball driving the lane giving it back to the Cougars, but with 35 seconds left Franklin stole the ball back.
Hardin County had two fouls to give and used them, but that cost the Cougars 11.4 seconds off the clock leaving 13.6, still down by one.
On the third consecutive foul, Franklin went to the line and missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Jake Vaughn got the rebound with 12.7 left and instead of calling a timeout to set up the final shot, Hardin County elected to let the play continue.
With 0.2 seconds left, Ben Vaughn launched a 3-pointer from the right corner that rimmed out and Lowndes grabbed the rebound. He was immediately fouled and made both free throws to give the Appleknockers a three point cushion with 0.2 still remaining.
“I would have rather attacked the basket instead of setting up for a 3 because they didn’t want to foul and that was the reason I didn’t call a timeout because they had to get back on defense, so they were kind of out of sorts,” Lane said. “But instead we came back to the wall. If we were going to shoot that 3 I would have rather seen us go to the basket and kick it out. But after an hour and half bus ride it wasn’t a bad game.”
After two timeouts, the Cougars could only manage a three-quarter court attempt that was off the mark.
The Cougars led by three 16-13 with 6:04 left in the first half when Cobden went on a 6-0 run starting with a layup by Franklin followed by a 3-pointer by Brock Reynolds and ending with Lowndes splitting a pair of free throws turn that lead around, 19-16.
Cullum drained a 3-pointer to tie game 19-19 with 2:09 left in the half, but Cooper Flamm got that one back 13 seconds later. Jake Vaughn then scored from underneath the basket with 4.4 left to cut the lead to one at the half.