LOG MOUNTAIN — A decisive defensive effort in the second quarter helped Bell County open up a big lead and they went on to beat Harlan 66-42 Friday in the district opener for both teams.
Up just 15-11 after the first quarter, the Bobcats held the Dragons without a field goal in the second period and forced seven turnovers. Tyler Potter scored a pair of baskets around a 3-pointer from Jake Patterson to make it 22-11 with 5:30 left in the half.
Harlan’s first point of the quarter came on a Caleb Hogue free throw at the 2:40 mark. Isaiah Johnson also hit a free throw, but Bell’s Ben Collett banked in a short jumper with five seconds to go and then came up with a steal and a layup at the buzzer to put the Bobcats up 29-13 at the half.
“Last year, with an experienced team, we went against Harlan and they battled our pants off,” Bell coach Lewis Morris said. “I had watched Harlan earlier and they played with a lot more energy at their place than they showed tonight. I think we kind of took them out of what they wanted to do a little bit and they threw the ball around some.”
Potter and Josh Asher scored baskets to open the third quarter and the lead later ballooned to 40-15 on three Potter free throws after Dragon coach David Parks picked up two technicals while arguing a charging call.
The Dragons responded to the ejection with a bit of a run as Johnson drove the baseline for two, David Allen hit a basket and Dylan McNeil knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 42-22.
Asher scored four points as the Bobcats closed the quarter on a 9-1 run to take a 51-23 lead going into the fourth.
“I thought our kids gave good effort and played with a lot of energy. I’m not saying we played really good, but early on in the year they’re giving good effort in practice and in the games,” Morris said. “The more the they work together and figure out what their roles are I think they’ll be a lot better.”
Johnson finished with 13 points to lead Harlan while McNeil and Manny Davis added five each.
Bell County was paced by Potter’s 16 points with Asher scoring 12 and Zach Partin 10. Nine different players reached the scoring column for the Bobcats in the win.
“We’ve got a lot of kids that there’s not much difference in, we’ve got a lot of youth. Right now we’ve got two seniors and they’ve not played much. But once we get some cohesiveness to us, we’ll be a pretty good ball club,” Morris added. “It was a good opportunity for some young kids to come in and get to play and a lot of them did a good job. Anytime you get a win, especially in the district, we’ll take it.”
The Bobcats improve to 1-2 on the season and 1-0 in district play, they’ll visit Williamsburg Monday.
Harlan (1-4, 0-1) hosts J. Frank White, Tenn., today at 7 p.m.
— — —
Harlan…… 11… 2…10…19 — 42
Bell Co…..15…14…22…15 — 66
HARLAN (42): Isaiah Johnson 13, Dylan McNiel 5, Manny Davis 5, Caleb Hogue 4, Leighton Piper 4, Drew Parks 3, Nathan Young 3, Eric Young 3, David Allen 2, Aaron Simpson 0, Cody Logan 0.
BELL COUNTY (66): Tyler Potter 16, Josh Asher 12, Zach Partin 10, Ben Collett 8, Peyton Collett 6, Jake Paterson 4, Cody Ferguson 4, Chase Woolum 3, Donovan Napier 3, Tyler Green 0, Jacob Hunley 0, Hayden Gilbert 0.