By LINDSEY WOOD
The Engineer boys’ basketball team suffered a surprising 54-42 loss to Breathitt County before defeating Wolfe County 53-39 and East Carter 61-59. After these games, the boys are 17-7 for the season.
On Tuesday, Feb. 5th, Estill faced junior J.T. O’Hair’s former team, the Breathitt Bobcats. Going into the game, Breathitt was 8-16 against a mediocre schedule, while Estill sat 16-6 and had just gotten their tenth consecutive win against district rival, Powell County. Unfortunately, the Engineers’ previous success served only to make them overconfident and complacent as the faced the Bobcats. Estill played sluggishly for much of the first half, allowing Breathitt to lead 14-7 at the end of the first and 29-23 at the end of the second. The Engineers tried to clean up their mistakes in the second half but could not compensate for their poor first-half performance. Breathitt had all the momentum and continued to out-rebound and out-score Estill.
This loss was a very teachable moment for the Engineers: they learned that wins are not earned by past achievements and that every game is worthy of their best effort. Breathitt won the game not because they were the better team but because they were willing to give it their all—and Estill was not.
This disappointing loss aside, the Engineers had a couple of good wins. Against Wolfe, Estill had a somewhat slow offensive start, finishing the first quarter ahead by only two, but they quickly found a rhythm and finished the half ahead 26-16. Defensively, the Engineers were able to control Wolfe pretty easily despite the absence of the team’s best defender, J.T. O’Hair, due to illness. The Engineers pulled further ahead in the second half, ending the game with a 53-39 advantage.
This past Tuesday, Estill traveled the long route to East Carter and brought home a win. This heated game was close all night long, but the Engineers pulled through in the end, defeating East Carter 61-59. Caleb Bonny led the team offensively, scoring 19. He was followed by the Doty twins, Andrew having 14 and Lane having 11.
Only three games remain in the regular season. The first of these is the team’s Senior Night against Menifee County at home Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 6:00 p.m.; after that, Owsley County away Thursday, Feb. 15, at 7:45 p.m.; and, finally, Hazard away Friday, Feb. 16. at 7:30 p.m.