It’s not uncharted waters for Robert Patton, but the last time he was in the championship game of the Eldorado Holiday Tournament was in 1996.
That year, he was an assistant coach to Bob Dallas and the Hawks fell to a Massac County team that coasted to a 64-48 victory.
Patton is hoping for a different outcome after his Hawks upended Meridian 55-44.
It was a victory that was as much as what Gallatin County as it was what Meridian didn’t do.
Gallatin County went 9-of-12 from the free throw line in the final eight minutes, while Meridian went 0-of-13 from the floor.
This all came on the heels of Gallatin County taking a 40-38 lead after three quarters of play.
Patton said it was a different defensive philosophy that he believes made a difference down the stretch.
“We hoped to put some more pressure on them in the fourth quarter, going to a zone and forcing them to the outside. They have some athletes, they have an outstanding ball club and are well coached. We were just trying to change some things up, we found something that worked and stuck with it.”
Anthony Storto’s all five points came in the fourth quarter as he went 5-of-6 from the line, while Patrick Lowe went 3-of-4 from the stripe and had a bucket as Gallatin County outscored the Bobcats 15-6.
Andrew Drone led all scorers with 21 points, while Lowe added 18 for Gallatin County.
“Anthony Storto stepped up and hit 5-out-of-6 and handled the ball well,” Patton said. “Drone down the stretch was huge. Our guys know who to give the ball too and who our horse is. Patrick Lowe did a fantastic job, it was just a great team effort.”
Josh Jones had 14 points for Meridian.
Meridian only led 25-24 at halftime, outscoring Gallatin County 16-13 in the second quarter.
Gallatin County 11 13 16 15 - 55
Meridian 09 16 13 06 - 44
Gallatin County: Storto 5-6 5, Hish 3, Lowe 6 3-5 18, W. McGuire 1 1-2 3, Drone 9 3-8 21, Belford 1 0-1 5. Totals: 17 12-22 55.
Meridian: Powell 1 2, Schoffner 3 1-4 7, Jones 6 2-4 14, Moore 2 1-2 5, Davis 2 0-5 4, Weldon 4 8, Parker 2 4. Totals: 20 4-15 44.
3-pt FG: Gallatin County 2 (Hish, Lowe).