Middlesboro struggled offensively on Thursday when the team played Berea in the second day of the Pine Mountain Classic. Only one Yellow Jacket scored double figures as Middlesboro lost to the Pirates 54-42.
“It’s a disappointing game we had there. We struggled offensively the whole game,” said Middlesboro coach Isaac Wilson. “Early on, defensively we struggled. We ended up finding a little bit of a rhythm defensively as the game went on, and we found a way to be able to claw back into it a little bit.”
“We’re just digging ourselves some holes right now. We’re doing that through turnovers and allowing them to get second and third opportunities. That’s something that we know we got to correct. We’re going to go back to the drawing board and try to correct those.”
TJ Patterson finished as the Jackets’ leading scorer after tallying 12 points off the bench. Christian Hubbard scored seven points, while Jabari Kyle and Josh Overbay could only garner five points apiece.
“(TJ’s) going to be OK. TJ is a great kid and great competitor. He has a never say die mentality. I love the way he attacks the rim. He is a very unselfish player,” said Wilson. “He knows when he has got a shot and he knows when he don’t. He knows his role. We need TJ to continue to bring that to the team each and every night.”
“This team can be really scary if we can get five guys on the floor that brings their A-game on any given night. I really like this team. We very easily could be .500 or a little bit better than .500 right now. Our kids know that and we know where we need to improve in order to take care of ball games like today.”
It was a two man game for Berea with Caleb Clowers and David Gadd combining for 38 points. Gadd finished with a game-high 21 points after hitting nine baskets from the field. Clowers added 17 points to the scoreboard.
Kaleb Conley narrowly missed out on double figures with nine points.
Middlesboro kept the game within reaching distance until the end. The Jackets trailed 27-22 heading into halftime. Berea was able to increase that lead to 40-30 after three quarters.
With 2:01 remaining in the game, the Jackets still trailed by 10 points with the Pirates leading 50-40. A free throw from Clowers increased the lead to 11.
Hubbard cut into the lead with a layup that brought the score to 51-42 with just over a minute left in the game. The Jackets had an opportunity to narrow the deficit further after Patterson was fouled with 1:02 remaining. The freshman missed both free throws.
Conley finished the game with an old fashion three-point play that allowed Berea to walk away with a 12-point victory.
Middlesboro (2-9) finishes 2016 with a 10 a.m. game against South Floyd (6-5) on Friday during the final day of the Pine Mountain Classic.
Berea (7-5) will battle Pineville (9-2) at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.
Middlesboro suffered another narrow defeat on Wednesday when the team battled Jackson City in the Pine Mountain Classic. A strong second quarter gave the Tigers a big enough cushion to pull out the 74-71 victory over the Yellow Jackets.
Cameron Turner’s offensive outburst gave Jackson City the edge they needed. The sophomore guard finished with a game-high 39 points while hitting four 3-pointers and going 11-for-16 from the charity stripe.
Albert Turner and Jerry Fraley each added 11 points to the scoreboard for the Tigers.
Nick Poindexter paced the Middlesboro offense with 21 points off the bench. Christian Hubbard tallied 13 points, while Josh Overbay and Tanner Brush garnered six points apiece.
Tyrese Simpson provided 10 points while coming off the bench.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN