Bell County used a big third quarter to break open a tight game against Pineville on Friday. The Bobcats forced six turnovers and hit 7-of-8 shots from the field as they outscored the Lions 20-6 in the period and went on to a 65-44 Senior Night victory.
“We didn’t play terrible in the first half. We had a little lead and Pineville was being really patient, with an eight-point lead against them you feel pretty good. But they were able to get back in it,” Bobcat coach Lewis Morris said. “In the third quarter we came out and sat down and guarded. We were disciplined and made them make mistakes, they made some and that helped us.”
Senior guard Tyler Potter scored 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting to lead the Bobcats while senior forward Jake Patterson added 16 points and five rebounds. Pineville was led by senior forward John Robbins with 12 points and eight rebounds while junior guard Cody Collett also finished with 12 points in the game.
Patterson hit two 3s in the first quarter and a basket followed by a free throw from Partin gave Bell County a 16-8 lead late in the period. Robbins scored eight in the first for the Lions and hit his second trey of the game from the corner at the buzzer to make it 16-11.
The Bobcat lead was back to seven after a basket from Potter and another free throw from Partin.
Bell was playing a very aggressive zone, trapping hard every time the ball went to a corner. It caused the Lions some problems for much of the first half, but they finally started to figure it out late in the second quarter.
“We were trapping and trying to speed them up. Coach Strange does such a good job with those guys, they’re patient on offense and you have to be patient on defense and just keep guarding,” Morris added.
Pineville got two baskets each from Tucker Woolum and Conner Ford with Woolum’s baseline runner giving the Lions their only lead of the game at 24-23 with 50 seconds left in the half. Partin hit two free throws after grabbing an offensive rebound and the Bobcats went into the half up 25-24.
“I felt like we did a good job in the first half of matching Bell County’s intensity. We got down by six or eight early, but we did a good job of battling back and started hitting some shots and making some good plays,” Pineville coach J.D. Strange said. “Overall, I thought we played a really good first half. If we can put two halves together like that, I’ll take our chances.”
Bell County opened the second half playing straight man and forced four turnovers over the first two minutes of the third quarter. Senior forward Josh Asher scored five points as the Bobcats opened period on a 9-0 run.
The Lions got a free throw and then a 3-pointer from Isaac Longworth to get within six (34-28). But Potter, Patterson and Asher all hit 3s and Potter burried a jumper at the buzzer to stake Bell to a 45-30 lead going into the fourth.
“We just had turnovers at bad times in the second half that gave Bell County a pretty good lead. Plus they hit shots, they shot the ball really well,” Strange said. “Bell County has got a really good basketball team. Those senior kids played well and they’ll be a team to be reckoned with next week in the post season.”
Pineville never got closer than 13 in the final period and the Bobcats got a late basket from reserve forward Cody Carnes and a 3 from Dalton Callebs to set the final margin at 21 points.
For the game the Bobcats hit 21 of 37 shots (57-percent), including seven of 15 three-pointers. Pineville hit just 15 of 39 field goal attempts (38-percent). Bell County held a slight 24-21 rebounding edge and won the turnover battle 16-10.
The Mountain Lions (10-18) have dropped six of their last seven to close out the regular season. They’ll meet Barbourville on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the first round of the 51st District Tournament at Knox Central. Pineville held a big early lead against the Tigers before Barbourville rallied in the second half to pull out a 69-63 win in the only regular season meeting between the teams on Jan. 10.
“We had them on the ropes and shot the ball really well. Hopefully we’ll have Scotty (Hoskins) back by then,” Strange said. “The bottom line is we’ve just got to be focused and we’ll see what happens. We’ve been in this situation before going into the post season and you never know. We’re going to give it our best.”
Bell County went on to beat Oneida Baptist 63-53 on Saturday to finish the season with four straight wins and an 18-10 record. The Bobcats will play Harlan in the first round of the 52nd District Tournament on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Middlesboro.
The Green Dragons only lost to Bell by one point early in the season in Harlan, but the Bobcats beat them by seven in the Bowman Memorial Classic and then routed the Dragons on Valentines Day. Harlan has dropped five straight games and junior forward Tyler Miller left the team last weekend.
“They’re athletic. They’re young in some spots but they all played last year and they have a lot of experience. Dave (Parks) is a veteran coach who does a good job. They’re going to play your tail off and we’ve got to come ready to play. I think our kids understand that,” Morris said. “It’s going to be a battle and we’ll have to execute and rebound the basketball.
“This time of year if you have a bad night you go to the house. Sometimes you can have a good night and if the other team has a better night you still go to the house. We’ve got to play our best basketball come Tuesday night.”
Friday was the final home game for Bobcat seniors Potter, Patterson, Asher, Ben Collett and Cody Ferguson. They were recognized before the game and all five started.
Potter is one of the best pure scorers in the 13th Region and Patterson is one of the top all-around players with his ability score as well as defend, rebound and pass the ball. They’ve both started the last three seasons. Asher is a second-year starter with a good outside shot and the length to be an effective rebounder and defender in the post. Collett and Ferguson have both started a few games this season. Collett usually provides a spark of athleticism off the bench while Ferguson most often fills the role of defensive stopper for the second unit.
Morris had high praise for all of them for the work they do off the court.
“Great bunch of kids. Four years — no problems. All of them have really good grades. They’re model students, teachers like them, the principal likes them. They don’t miss practice,” Morris said. “I hope they have the opportunity to move on and keep advancing because they’re a great group of kids. Their parents have done a great job of raising them.”
— — —
John Robbins 4-8 2-4 12, Cody Collett 3-12 4-4 12, Conner Ford 3-6 1-2 7, Isaac Longworth 1-6 2-4 5, Dalton Ledbetter 0-0 0-0 0, Tucker Woolum 2-3 0-0 4, Will Adams 1-1 0-0 2, Jalen Byrd 0-1 0-0 0, John Sproles 0-1 0-0 0, Jacob Shackleford 1-1 0-0 2, Thomas Brock 0-0 0-0 0, Joseph Simpson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-39 9-15 44.
BELL COUNTY (18-10)
Tyler Potter 8-12 3-4 20, Jake Patterson 4-8 5-6 16, Josh Asher 3-5 1-1 8, Ben Collett 0-2 0-0 0, Cody Ferguson 0-1 0-0 0, Zach Partin 2-2 5-8 9, Chase Woolum 1-3 1-4 4, Jacob Hunley 0-0 0-0 0, Ethan Gambrel 0-1 0-0 0, Cody Carnes 2-2 0-0 4, Donovan Napier 0-0 1-2 1, Trent Lefevers 0-0 0-0 0, Vic Morris 0-0 0-0 0, Dalton Callebs 1-1 0-0 3, Adam Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Nathan Collett 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-37 16-25 65.
|3-point goals: PHS 5-13 (Robbins 2-3, Collett 2-4, Longworth 1-4, Byrd 0-1, Sproles 0-1), Bell 7-15 (Patterson 3-6, Potter 1-4, Asher 1-2, Woolum 1-2, Callebs 1-1). Rebounds: PHS 21 (Robbins 8, Ford 5), Bell 24 (Patterson 5, Asher 4, Potter 4). Assists: PHS 6 (Collett 2, Ford 2), Bell 12 (Woolum 3). Turnovers: PHS 16, Bell 10. Total fouls: PHS 20, Bell 15. Fouled out: PHS (Ford). Technical foul: Bell (Bench). |