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By LARRY GOFFINET
CANNELTON—No one could explain just what caused Brandon Cook’s hot third-quarter shooting streak Saturday, but it carried Cannelton past Tell City 65-60 in boys basketball.
Cook scored 12 of his game-high 33 points in the third quarter as the Bulldogs extended their lead to 47-39.
He had only nine points in the first half on 2 for 6 field-goal shooting and 5 of 5 free throws, and he sat out the last 3:45 of that half with three fouls.
But the Bulldogs still built a 28-21 halftime lead despite 14 for 14 free-throw shooting by Tell City, as the Marksmen hit only 3 of 21 from the field that half.
Tell City cut the Bulldogs’ lead to five as Drew Mowery scored the first basket of the third quarter on a drive.
Cook replied with a three-point basket from a step or two behind the arc.
Tell City again cut the margin to five points with six minutes left in the third quarter on consecutive driving baskets by Matthew Watts and Mowery.
But Cook, whose main strength is normally his driving game, hit another three-pointer off an inbounds pass.
He added a 17-footer and a 16-footer, both off the dribble, as the Bulldogs built a 43-31 lead with 3:46 left in the quarter.
At that point he was 4 for 4 from the field in the quarter, with all four shots coming from at least 16 feet.
What caused his hot streak?
“I have no clue how to answer that question,” he said, adding that “it was against Tell City and the crowd was loud—they played a big part in it.”
Said Cannelton Coach Brian Garrett, “He just blew hot—he’s the type of kid who can do that. He’s hard to guard and when he gets into that rhythm and feels it, it seems like he has another gear.”
Said Tell City Coach Brent Owen, “We prepared for that. Part of our scouting report was that he would take off-balance shots and make them. Unfortunately he just kept making them.”
Cook finished 9 for 13 from the field in the second half, including 3 for 3 from three-point range.
The Bulldogs needed his hot shooting because Tell City’s Watts also got hot that half. Held to two points on free throws in the first half, he scored 17 points—including five three-pointers—in the second half.
His last three-pointer pulled the Marksmen within three points of Cannelton with 1:14 left.
They made a steal two seconds later to give them a chance to tie the score.
However Cook stole it back and hit a driving 5-footer to pretty much seal the outcome.
“Watts blew hot in the second half and we lost him sometimes,” said Garrett. But overall he “thought our half-court defense did exactly what we needed it to do.”
The Bulldogs also used a full-court press throughout the game. Though Tell City committed only 11 turnovers, “it disrupted their rhythm—that’s the whole key,” said Garrett.
He also said a key was keeping the Marksmen off the free-throw line in the second half, when they were 1 for 2 at the line. “The first half we made too many silly fouls.”
Tristan Simmons scored 15 points for Cannelton to back Cook and Hunter Herzog added eight on 4 for 4 field-goal shooting.
Watts scored 19 points, Arnold 15, and Mowery 10 for Tell City.
Cannelton outshot Tell City from the field 47.8 percent to 29.7 percent.
Tell City won the rebounding battle 40-32 as Brennan Malone grabbed nine. Quinn Duke pulled down eight and Simmons seven for Cannelton.
The Bulldogs improved to 2-0, their best start in 28 years, since they started 12-0 in 1984-85, Garrett’s senior season. This was their first win over Tell City since a 69-58 victory Dec. 3, 1991.
“They have a good team,” said Owen. “I thought they played really well.”
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Tell City won the junior varsity game 46-11 as Mitchell Huck scored nine points, Hunter Rowe and Matt Zabel eight apiece, and Rhett Baumeister seven.
Michael Miller scored seven for Cannelton.