Coming off an impressive victory over Powell County, fatigue may be the toughest obstacle facing the Engineers, with three winnable games over the next three days.
After hosting Owsley County on Thursday and Jackson County in a 6 p.m. match up on Friday, Coach Lawrence Tiller will take his squad to Riverside Christian where they will face Oneida Baptist Institute on Saturday.
Victories have been hard to come by so far this season, making the triumph over Powell on Friday all that much sweeter.
Tiller called the effort by his improving team “By far their best game of the year.”
The talented trio of Devan Doty, Kenton Roberts and Cade Berryman led the way.
“They worked seamlessly together at points,” said Tiller.
“Kenton had by far his smoothest offensive and defensive game together.”
Tiller also lauded Berryman for “playing the best game I have seen him play in an Engineer uniform.
“His control with the ball was very good, and he made some clutch baskets, but more impressively, he made some beautiful passes in traffic that led to big baskets down the stretch.
Doty stood out for continuing to finish on the offensive end, and as an intimidating defender, both on his man and as a helpside defender, according to the coach.
“Also the rest of the team did a great job of stepping up and coming in at clutch times, making big plays when they were called on.
“However, this should be a wakeup call to us that we can play basketball and that we must come to play mentally, physically and emotionally every night, not just on rivalry nights.”
Estill was led in the 58-55 win by Roberts with 19 points and nine rebounds; Berryman chipped in with 14 points and seven assists, and Doty contributed 14 points, six rebounds and six blocks.
Against Model on Tuesday of last week, the Engineers fell 66-54 in a game that was tied after three quarters.
Losing Berryman to fouls early in the fourth period, missed free throws (20 of 42) and 27 turnovers all contributed to the defeat, plus still being without the services of two injured players, Abernathy and Birchfield.
Leading the point parade for Estill was Roberts with 14, Doty 10, Tyler Williams and Travis Allen six each.
A measure of how far Estill has progressed will come Thursday at home against Owsley County.
The Owls own a 61-55 win over the Engineers on January 13.
Among common opponents, Owsley’s 8-11 mark includes a 79-71 loss to Powell County.
Two of their eight wins have come against Lee County, 56-43 and 59-54. Estill has fallen twice to the boys from Beattyville, 50-43 and 53-43.
Jackson County will bring an 8-12 record into Irvine, including a 49-37 of the Engineers on Dec. 12 in the Berea Invitational.
An Oneida Baptist Institute team that has struggled all season and stands 2-10 should give Estill a good chance of finishing their three-day marathon on a winning note.
The Engineers will finish up regular season play next week with road games at Western Hills and Menifee County.
The Wolverines of Western Hills have put together a 9-12 record against some tough 11th Region competition.
Among common opponents, they own a 82-47 victory over Richmond Model.