Of all the X's and O's that go into coaching, nothing can replace heart.
It's that intangible that Robert Patton says cannot be replaced and for at least one night, the Gallatin County head coach knew he got that and a whole lot more in his Hawks' 58-53 win over Carmi-White County in the Consolation Championship of the Eldorado Holiday Tournament.
Gallatin County last won the Consolation Championship in 1998 and Patton agreed that since he got his start in 1991, he's never been more proud of any team he has coached.
"They never quit playing," Patton said of his troops. "I've won regionals and sectionals, but I have never been more proud than I was of them winning this basketball game tonight. There probably weren't many people in the stands — and it was a big crowd — that thought we could win this basketball game."
That tongue in cheek comment stemmed from the fact that Gallatin County was without the services of 5-foot-10 senior Jared Jackson, who sprained his ankle in the Hawks' win over Hamilton County Friday night.
Fellow classmate Mitchell Ramsey noted how Jackson's height was missed, but complimented his bunch in overcoming adversity and persevering to the victory.
"We knew we were going to miss Jackson's height, but I thought Zach McGuire and Austin Russell really stepped up and really, we all just wanted to win it for Jared."
Russell helped stave off any comeback from Carmi-White County, knocking down 8-of-7 free throws in the final minutes. As a whole, Gallatin County went 17-of-13 from the foul stripe in the final eight minutes.
"We have had troubles with free throws in the past," Ramsey said. "So, it was nice to be able to step up and have our guys hit some when we really need them tonight.
"Coach (Doug) Miller makes us do a running drill if we miss, so I'm pretty sure we won't have to run a lot after this one," Ramsey joked.
Carmi-White County came out, taking a 16-8 lead after one quarter and led 28-22 at the break.
It was a second half run, where Gallatin County outscored the Bulldogs 36-25 for the come from behind win.
The Hawks were led in scoring by McGuire's 15 points, stepping in for the injured Jackson, who was on fire from beyond the arc, knocking down five 3-pointers. Russell finished with 13 points, eight of which came in the second half and Marcus Wargel tacked on 10 points.
Carmi's Chase Sailor scored 15 points and Joe Matz dumped in 12 points.
"This was absolutely a team effort," Patton said. "That's the makeup of this ballclub. People don't know how great of men these players are and what hard workers they are, every day."
Page 2 of 2 - Carmi-White County 16 12 08 17 — 53
Gallatin County 08 14 18 18 — 58
Carmi-White County:Vaughan 1 4-4 6, Brown 3 1-2 8, Sailor 6 3-3 15, Steed 2 0-0 5, Large 1 0-0 2, Matz 5 2-7 12, C. Vaughn 2 1-2 5. Totals: 20 11-18 53.
Gallatin County: M. Ramsey 0 2-2 2, Russell 3 6-7 13, McGuire 5 0-0 15, Scates 2 3-2 6, Wargel 4 2-2 10, S. Ramsey 1 6-9 9, Oldham 1 1-2 3. Totals: 16 19-25 58.
3-pointers: Carmi-White County 2 (Brown, Steed), Gallatin County 7 (McGuire 5, Russell). Fouls: Carmi-White County 20, Gallatin County 11.