by Andrew Hatton
CVT Sports Writer
Estill took down Somerset and Bell County in consecutive games to open the season. The Engineers defeated the Briar Jumpers on Nov. 29, by a score of 52-47 before taking down the Bobcats, 67-30, on Dec. 3.
The season opener against Somerset showed what this Engineer team is capable of against talented teams. Estill struggled through the opening quarter but took charge with strong performances in the second and third, outscoring Somerset 24-15 over that stretch.
Caleb Bonny picked up where he left off from last season, scoring 26 points on the night and going 10-of-13 from the free throw line. Andrew Doty finished with 10 points, the only other Engineer in double digits.
Although they looked strong against Somerset, the Engineers were dominant against Bell County. The Estill offense was on fire from outside against the Bobcats, knocking down 12 shots from beyond the arc as a team.
Joe Benton and Trey Richardson each hit 5-threes in the game, with Richardson knocking down four in the third quarter. Caleb Bonny hit 2-threes, finishing with a team-high 17 points.
After a 27-point third quarter, none of the starters played in the fourth quarter with Estill opening up such a big lead. The Engineers were then able to give their bench a good run.
Two big factors for Estill through these first two games have been both their defense and the play of their big men. The Engineers have shown the ability to get stops consistently on defense.
Luke Barnett and Robert Tipton have emerged as difference makers for Estill. Barnett’s length has made him a menace to opposing teams, making spectacular blocks at the defensive end. Tipton is finally showing glimpses of the dominant player he can be at both ends of the floor.
If Estill can continue to build on these performances going forward, the coaching staff could be looking at a team capable of great things this season. If their improvement continues at this rate, this could be the best team from Coach Bentley’s tenure.