Bell County controlled Friday’s game against Harlan for three quarter and looked well on their way to an easy double-figure victory. The Green Dragons used a little bit of fourth quarter magic to nail seven 3-pointers and force the game into overtime.
The Bobcats were able to hold on in overtime after Tyler Partin stole an in-bound pass and was fouled in transition with 3.6 seconds remaining in the game. He hit one of his two free throws to give Bell a 61-60 victory.
“I thought we played really well for three quarters,” said Bell coach Lewis Morris. “One thing we really talked about was (Jake Wilson) and (Killian Ledford), not giving them open looks and staying with them. (Ledford) came down the floor three straight times and nobody even picked him up. I don’t know what happened. I think mentally we just broke down. We were really lucky.”
After trailing by 13 points heading into the final quarter of regulation, Killian Ledford led the Green Dragons on a 21-6 run that included seven 3-pointers down the stretch. Harlan forced the game into overtime following a 3-pointer from Ledford with 25.3 seconds left in regulation that tied the game at 58-58.
Colby Frazier started overtime hitting two free throws to give Bell a 60-58 lead with 3:14 remaining in overtime. Noah Busroe scored shortly after to tie the game at 60-60.
The Dragons regained possession with just over two minutes remaining and ran the clock down below a minute. Antonio Zachery forced a jump ball that gave the Bobcats possession with 4.7 seconds left.
In an attempt to inbound the ball to Partin beyond half court, Ryan Lambdin threw the ball out of bounds and gave Harlan possession on their own side of the court. Partin created a little magic of his on when he stole the inbound pass.
Busroe was forced to foul him in transition with 3.6 seconds remaining. Partin’s first free throw bounced off the rim, but he nailed the second to give Bell the one-point lead. Busroe quickly pushed the ball down the court and shot the ball inside the paint but missed.
Victor Morris paced the Bobcat offense with 18 points, with nine coming from 3-point range. Kyle Burnett and Partin both finished the game with double figures scoring 12 and 10 points, respectively. Frazier and Dalton Calebs scored eight points apiece during the game.
Ledford’s 20-point performance led Harlan on offense with 12 points coming in the fourth quarter. Jake Wilson finished the game with 12 points, while Ethan Morton scored nine points off the bench.
“We’re young and we’ve not had time to work on a lot of stuff. We’re just trying to get were we can do a little bit of this and a little bit of that right now,” said Morris. “It was good for them to have to fight and hang in there. Tyler (Partin) made some bad mistakes throughout the game, but he came back and made a big play at the end and won the game for us.”
The Dragons jumped out to an early 6-1 lead in the opening quarter. Morris cut the lead to 6-4 after hitting a 3-pointer. Burnett tied the game at 6-6 following a layup.
Harlan regained the lead after a 3-pointer from Ledford brought the score to 9-6. Burnett scored after grabbing an offensive rebound before the Dragons hit a two-point basket to bring the score to 11-8 in favor of Harlan.
The Bobcats scored six unanswered points in the final moments of the first to end the quarter with a 15-11 lead.
Bell County’s run continued into the second. The Bobcats opened the quarter on a 10-0 run that included seven consecutive points by Morris. The run was capped off by a Morris 3-pointer that gave Bell a 25-11 lead.
Busroe stopped the run at 3:24 after hitting two free throws that narrowed the lead to 25-13. The Dragons cut the lead down to single digits after going on a 7-3 run that narrowed the deficit to 28-20 with less than a minute to go in the half.
Lambdin hit a jumper moments before the buzzer to give the Bobcats a 30-20 lead heading into halftime.
Bell continued to hold the momentum in the third outscoring Harlan 14-11 to take a 44-31 lead into the fourth. The Green Dragons came alive in the fourth quarter and outscored the Bobcats 27-14 to force the game into overtime with the score tied at 58.
Bell narrowly escaped overtime with a one-point victory.
Bell County (1-4) will travel to Thomas Walker, Virginia at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.
Harlan (2-2) will travel to Pikeville (2-0) at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN