Hawks 'tough out' win over Carrier Mills
Oldham's 25 leads GC to victory, CM's Johnson has 18 in loss

With all that has happened with the Gallatin County Hawks in the past few hectic days, Coach Robert "Radar" Patton was happy with any sort of victory.

This coach got a GEC win on the road on Tuesday night, 57-48 over Carrier Mills behind the clutch shooting of Kyle Oldham and the gutsy play of point guard Trent Wargel. It was the Hawks second victory in as many games against the Wildcats, having opened up with a win at home on November 28.

Oldham (25-points) was a dominating force on the inside and on the outside while Wargel toughed it out on a night where he was obviously suffering from the effects of the flu.

Playing 'back-to-back' tough games this past weekend and having to play on the road in the conference, Gallatin County weathered the storm and now head into the Eldorado Holiday Tournament at 4-2 overall, 2-1 in the league.

"I told the kids after the game that there are going to be some nights where you don't play your best but you still win. Tonight was one of those nights," said Patton. "I give Carrier Mills a lot of the credit for that, they are well coached and I knew that they would be better at their place."

Even playing without three of their starters because of academic problems, the Wildcats hung tough with their conference mates, mostly on the strength of Tyler Johnson's 18-points.

A 3-pointer by Jeff Gulley gave Carrier Mills its first lead at 3-2 with just over a minute gone in the game.

After Gallatin County took the lead 6-5 on a pair of free throws by Johnny Farler, Johnson connected on the first of his three 3-pointers to give the Wildcats an 8-6 advantage.

The Hawks scored seven of the games next nine points with Oldham stepping out to can his only 3-pointer of the night to give his team a 11-10 lead.

His pass to Aaron Casteel in the lane on the next trip down the court turned into an assist and a 13-10 lead.

Carrier Mills made another move against Gallatin County late in the frame when Johnson hit another 3-pointer, this time from the top of the key with :23 seconds left to tie the game at 17-apiece.

But Oldham finished out his nine-point first period outburst with a score in the paint with :04 which made the score 19-17 at the end of one.

The Hawks started to get some separation from their rivals in the early going of the second frame.

Wargel went 'coast-to-coast' after making a steal that was followed up by a basket by a 'posting up' Oldham to force Carrier Mills coach Mark Motsinger to burn a timeout with 6:59 left in the second and the score at 23-17.

The Wildcats' Jeremiah Mitchell tried his best to keep his team in the contest. He crashed the boards on two consecutive trips down the floor; converting offensive rebounds into put-back baskets each time to get his team back within 26-21.

However another Oldham drive in the paint and Wargel's only 3-pointer of the night gave Gallatin County a double-digit lead for the first time at 31-21.

Although the Hawks seemed poised to sprint away to finish off the Wildcats, Oldham picked up his second foul and went to the bench with 3:42 left before intermission.

It has long been common knowledge in this conference that Oldham and Wargel need to be on the court and at full strength if the Hawks are going to continue their success story.

But with Wargel ailing and Oldham resting on the sidelines, Carrier Mills made its best move of the night.

A 6-0 run finished the half for CM, with Eli Morgan collecting four of the points on a pair of free throws and short bank shot in the lane.

As Gallatin County was trying to go for the last shot of the half, Morgan made a steal in the lane and his outlet pass found Gulley open for a bucket that closed out the first half scoring at 33-27.

"Oldham and Wargel are our marquee players and we need to have them out there if we are going to be successful," added Patton. "But Carrier Mills played more team oriented tonight and I think in a way it made them better."

But whatever hope Carrier Mills had of pulling the upset went away quickly at the beginning of the second half.

Coach Patton wanted to get Oldham more 'touches' underneath the basket and the 6-1 senior oblige by scoring all three of his second half baskets within 10-feet of the basket.

The Hawks scored the first seven points of the second half, with Oldham scoring in the paint on yet another shot underneath the bucket.

Wargel made a steal and found Casteel sprinting toward the basket with a nice pass. Casteel's shot went in as Johnson fouled him while trying to take a 'charge.'

Casteel was shaken up on the play and had to come out of the game.

But Brian Hargrave stepped off the bench and up to the line in his place. His made free throw gave the Hawks a 38-29 lead.

On CM's next possession, Wargel picked Johnson's pocket near mid-court and his robbery resulted in another easy basket and another double-digit advantage.

The rest of the game was more of the same for Carrier Mills. Every time the 'Cats made a move, Gallatin County responded.

Gulley and Johnson combined for five-points, as Johnson's final 3-pointer cut the margin to 40-36.

However Gallatin County retaliated once again as Hargrove hit a 3-pointer on the next Hawks possession.

Wargel hit on another fast break basket to get the lead back to ten when and then reserve Phil Givens scored after getting behind the Carrier Mills defense, the quarter ended at 49-39.

Although Johnson scored six points in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats could not make much of a dent in the Hawks lead.

Oldham made all four of his free throw attempts in the final seconds to give the Hawks the win.

"Depending on who is guarding him, we want him (Oldham) to post up a smaller guard," added Patton.

Besides Oldham's 25, Wargel pitched in 11 in a tremendous effort considering his condition and Casteel added 11 as well.

Johnson's 18 topped Carrier Mills (1-4 overall, 1-2 in the GEC) while Mitchell added 13 and Gully 10.

The Wildcats will play a pair of road games at Pope County and Hamilton County before getting ready for the Eldorado Holiday Tourney.

Gallatin County
Carrier Mills

Gallatin County (57) - Givens 1 0 0-0 2, Oldham 9 1 4-4 25, Casteel 5 0 1-2 11, Wargel 4 1 0-1 11, Farler 1 0 2-6 4, Hargave 0 1 1-1 4.
2FG-20, 3FG-3, FT-8-14, PF-14.
Carrier Mills (48) - Johnson 4 3 2-3 18, Mitchell 5 0 3-6 13, Gulley 3 1 1-2 10, Morgan 1 0 4-4 6.
2FG-13, 3FG-4, FT-10-15, PF-14.