Bell did just that Friday, edging the visiting Trojans 64-60 and ending several streaks in the process. The loss was the first for Cawood (13-6 overall, 6-1 district) in 2006, ending the Trojans' eight-game winning streak. The loss also ended Cawood's 22-game district win streak, which stretched back to the beginning of the 2003-04 season, and ended Cawood's six-game winning streak over the Bobcats, which began in 2003.
"It was a big win for the kids," Bell County coach Eddie Whitaker said. "It's a big change and, hopefully, we can keep that going. I know the rivalry is there."
Bell (13-6 overall, 7-1 district) shot 52 percent (23 of 44) from the field and 64 percent (seven of 11) from t beyond the 3-point line. The Bobcats were especially effective down the stretch, scoring on four straight possessions in the fourth quarter after Cawood had taken a 53-51 lead with 5:48 left.
"We hadn't got a good shot a couple of possessions after they went to that zone, and we called timeout," Whitaker said. "We had worked on it, and we had hoped they'd start the game in it because I really felt we could execute.
"We called a timeout and got them focused and got some key shots. We moved the basketball, made them play defense and got good shots."
The Bobcats showed tremendous patience in working for good shots, beginning with a layup by junior center Jordan Turner to tie the game at 53-53. Guards Jeremy Sanders and Shawnta Zachery each scored off drives and Turner hit a jumper in the lane to give Bell a 59-53 lead with 3:14 remaining.
"They did a good job of executing, but we made it easy on them," said Cawood coach Anthony Nolan, who was unhappy that his Trojans allowed so much penetration at that crucial point of the game.
Bell, playing without star guard Ryan Whitaker due to an injury, got a big lift off the bench from his brother, eighth-grade guard Josh Whitaker, who had a key steal and two of the Bobcats' three rebounds in the fourth period. Whitaker was the only reserve to see action for Bell.
"He helped us tremendously tonight," Whitaker said of his son. "Our bench strength right now is kind of shaky at times. We seem to have different people step up at different times."
A jumper by Joe Brock and a 3-pointer by Watkins cut the Bell lead to one, but the Bobcats put the game away at the line as Zachery and Trey Goins each connected in the final 1:04 to seal the victory.
Free throws were a sore spot for Nolan, who complained that his team didn't get several calls under the basket that would have put the Trojans at the line. Whitaker had a similar complaint after Cawood won the previous meeting between the two teams at Cawood.
"I guess Eddie got his wish from the first game," Nolan said. "He complained about officiating at our place when there was a two-foul differential. Here, it was more than double (17-8) foul differential. We never got in the bonus all night."
The Trojans also had themselves to blame for the loss as they missed numerous open shots inside, especially in the first half.
"We had too many open looks that we didn't convert, especially early. We rebounded well and had three or four shots, but we missed so many that were 2 feet from the goal," Nolan said. "Whether there is contact or not, you need to be able to convert those."
Nolan also pointed to a two-minute stretch at the end of the first half as a turning point after Cawood had built a 31-21 lead following two baskets by Josh Caldwell and a 3-pointer by Brock. Bell closed the half with a 12-2 run, pulling even at 33-33 as Goins scored twice on layups after turnovers in the final 27 seconds.
"We were up 10 at the end of the first half and made about four straight trips with mental mistakes and let them tie the game at halftime," Nolan said. "Normally, we're pretty focused and take care of the ball. We should have got the last shot and extended the lead rather making turnovers. That was a crucial turning point."
Bell went to a zone press during that stretch and turned the game's momentum when Cawood appeared to be in control after opening the second quarter by hitting six straight shots, turning a five-point deficit into a double-digit lead.
"We man-to-man pressed up there and kind of got back in the game a few times," Whitaker said. "I decided that without Ryan we weren't as athletic, so we tried to just zone them. It helped slow them down. A couple of turnovers sometimes will change the momentum."
Bell built a six-point lead midway through the third quarter but Cawood answered with baskets from Billydean Shelton and Ryan Farmer to cut the deficit to 46-45 by the end of the period.
Sanders led the balanced Bell attack with 19 points. Goins scored 17 and Zachery added 15.
Brock scored 18 and Watkins added 17 to lead Cawood.
Bell travels to Pulaski County tonight. Cawood returns to action Tuesday at Harlan.
Derrick Watkins 7-14 2-3 17, Joe Brock 7-12 0-0 18, Adam Rhymer 1-3 0-0 2, Billydean Shelton 3-9 3-4 9, Josh Caldwell 2-5 1-2 5, Ryan Farmer 3-5 0-0 7, B.J. Nolan 0-3 2-2 2, Kyle Hatfield 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 23-53 8-11 60.
BELL COUNTY (13-6)
Jeremy Sanders 7-12 2-3 19, Shawnta Zachery 5-9 3-4 15, Bryce Mickey 0-0 1-2 1, Trey Goins 6-14 4-5 17, Jordan Turner 4-6 1-4 9, Josh Whitaker 1-3 0-0 3. Totals: 23-44 11-18 64.
Cawood 10 23 12 15 60
Bell County 15 18 13 18 64
3-point goals: Cawood 6-17 (Brock 4-7, Farmer 1-3, Watkins 1-6, Hatfield 0-1), Bell County 7-11 (Sanders 3-6, Zachery 2-2, Goins 1-1, Whitaker 1-2). Rebounds: Cawood 26 (Shelton 9), Bell County 22 (Goins 8) Turnovers: Cawood 11, Bell County 13. Fouled out: Cawood (Caldwell).