Bell County avenged an earlier season loss on Tuesday when they welcomed Cumberland Gap to Log Mountain. The Bobcats used a strong first quarter to earn a 48-37 victory over the Panthers.
“I thought we fought. We made a lot of mistakes and didn’t shoot the ball extremely well…but the kids fought,” said Bell coach Lewis Morris. “They rebounded hard, they stayed at it, they pressured up for three quarters and a half, and that’s a toughness thing.”
“We’ve come a long way in a couple of weeks. We’ve still got to get better at doing some things. We’re young and hopefully by the end of the year we will be a little bit better than what we are right now. I’m proud of them.”
Bell County used strong rebounding to help create second chance opportunities on offense and limit Cumberland Gap’s output. The Bobcats hauled in 36 rebounds with Tyler Partin and Kyle Burnett leading the way with 10 and eight, respectively.
“Rebounding a lot of times is your best offense. With the way we are sometimes, if we don’t rebound we have a hard time,” said Morris. “I thought Kyle Burnett really rebounded the ball hard, and I thought they all did. I thought Tyler (Partin) was in there battling tonight.”
Colby Frazier paced the Bell offense with 18 points while going 6-of-11 from the charity stripe. Partin finished the game with a double-double after adding 10 points to his double-digit rebounding total.
Victor Morris tallied six points on the night.
Trent Graves led Cumberland Gap with 14 points. Jayson Upton and Kaleb Franklin tallied eight and seven points, respectively.
Bell County started the game with a 9-0 run that extended over six minutes in the first quarter. The run was capped off by a Dalton Callebs jumper. Upton finally ended the run with a free throw that cut the lead to 9-1 with 1:48 remaining in the first.
After a Partin layup, the Panthers scored on back-to-back baskets from Jacob Bullins and Upton to narrow the lead to 11-5. Frazier ended the quarter with a layup to increase the Bobcat lead to 13-5.
Cumberland Gap opened the second quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers from Graves and Upton to cut the lead to 13-11. A 6-0 run quickly increased the lead to 19-11 after Antonio Zachery capped the run with the put-back basket.
Preston England exited a Cumberland Gap timeout with a layup to narrow the lead to 19-13. With both teams silent with under a minute remaining in the half, Partin beat the buzzer on the put-back to give Bell a 21-13 lead heading into halftime.
Both teams went back and forth throughout the third quarter with Evan Jackson scoring on a free throw to cut the Bell lead to 27-21 heading into the final quarter.
The Panthers couldn’t find the momentum to overcome the deficit in the fourth. Bell opened the period with a basket from Ryan Lambdin and free throws from Morris that gave the Bobcats a double-digit 31-21 lead.
Cumberland Gap would cut the lead to single digits only twice in the final seven minutes of the game. The Bobcats outscored the Panthers 21-16 in the fourth to secure an 11-point victory.
Bell County (6-10) will host Lee, Virginia at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Cumberland Gap will battle Chuckey-Doak on Friday.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN