One good throwback court deserves another.
It felt just like the old days on Tuesday night at Butler Stadium in a Hoosiers-esque atmosphere in downtown Princeton, as the Caldwell County Tigers won their second straight game of the week in a 62-48 victory over the Crittenden County Rockets.
The ankle seemed just fine for Tripp Branch after injuring himself at Madisonville North Hopkins just a few nights prior.
Branch scored 16 points and was one of the top players on the night, but time and time again there was JaMarius Blaine, who did the unfathomable with 20 points and three powerful blocks in Butler gym.
Adarius Riley added 10 points, Cole Smiley scored six inside and Jabrion Spikes went off for all of his nine points in the fourth quarter for the Tigers (11-14), who have suddenly won two straight games.
Crittenden (12-14) got 15 points from Erik O'Leary and 12 from Preston Morgeson, and had a one-point lead heading into the final frame, before being held to five points and zero field goals in the fourth quarter.
Caldwell lost game one to the Rockets in Marion earlier this season 65-62 on Dec. 10.
"We did the exact same thing last night," Tiger head coach Daniel Kukahiko said. "Last night was a back and forth game, and then coming here tonight was the exact same thing. We got in some foul trouble, they got in some foul trouble. Our bench came in and gave us great minutes, but we played to win. We didn't play passive and it was a great team win."
A Branch straightaway 3-pointer from the top of the key capped off a 7-0 run in two minutes, and Riley kept the lead at 11-7 midway through one on a floater.
The Tigers kept their four-point lead most of the rest of the frame, and a fanatic block by Blaine followed by Blaine's scoop at the rim would have the Tigers up front 17-12 after the first quarter.
Branch nailed a right corner 3 to take the lead up to 20-14 early in the second quarter, but offensive rebounds pulled the Rockets within two.
Blaine kept the hot 3-point half going from the left wing midway through two, but the Rockets would grab the lead back at 29-28 with 1:44 to play in the half.
Jude East would take the Tigers to a 32-31 halftime lead, after finishing a crisp pass from Blaine.
A beautiful take to the rim by Riley kept the game tied early in the third quarter, but back to back Crittenden 3s kept either squad from being able to pull away.
Blaine took to the skies for his second rejection, but an and-1 kept the Rockets up by four midway through two.
Blaine continued to stay aggressive defensively, and forced a steal that resulted in a quick bucket to keep it at a one possession game.
With both clubs pushing the pace, Crittenden would answer a midrange jumper by Branch with a triple, but Blaine acrobatically got to the rim to cut it to 43-42 after three quarters.
Blaine's pull-up jumper gave Caldwell its first lead of the fourth at 44-43 after his third big block of the game, and Smiley got the roll on an and-1 to go up four with 5:28 to play at 47-43.
Smiley finished a personal 5-0 run with a spin at the rim to take the Tigers up six midway through four, and Blaine continued his Tuesday night masterpiece with a pull-up floater to keep the two possession lead for the Tigers at 51-45 with three minutes left.
Spikes came through moments later with the biggest three of the night from the left wing to give the Tigers their largest lead at eight points, and did it again with a putback and-1 to balloon the lead to 11 in the final two minutes to close out the season sweep of Crittenden County.
"He (Spikes) is one of the most poised guys I've ever been around," Kukahiko said. "It's a tribute to some of my team doesn't play a lot and some play a whole whole lot, and he's ready to go at any time. He made several big plays there down the stretch and helped us extend that lead. It was fun to watch."
The Rockets had the benefit of the double bonus despite their field goal woes but never got any closer the rest of the way at Butler.
The Tigers went on to outscore Crittenden 20-5 in the fourth, and would return to the CAB on Thursday night against District 7 opponent Dawson Springs.