Bobcats hold on for 66-60 win

Published 10:53 pm Sunday, December 17, 2017

With a starter and top rotation player on the bench, Bell County escaped Log Mountain with a victory over McCreary Central on Friday. The game followed a similar script as a few previous games. The Bobcats were able to build a double-digit lead in the first half only to see it evaporate in the second half.

The Raiders narrowed the deficit to as little as three heading into the fourth, but several runs in the final period allowed Bell to pull out the 66-60 victory.

“It had flashbacks to the lead we had with Cumberland Gap and flashbacks to the lead we had against Harlan County,” said Bell coach Frankie Smith regarding the game. “Since the Harlan County game, every practice we’ve taken at least 20 to 30 minutes of our practice and worked on nothing but press breaks, ballhandling, handling traps (and) handling pressures.

“Tonight, I thought that (Sawyer Brock) did an excellent job of keeping his head up and dribbling. Ryan (Lambdin) did a great job of keeping his head up and also making free throws down the line. I think the big difference was the time we put in in practice preparing for when we do have a lead not to let it slip away to badly.”

With Colby Frazier and Trey Brock both out with injuries, the Bobcats had to look elsewhere for some support offensively. Ryan Lambdin stepped up with a solid performance that saw him score 23 points while going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.

“He had a lot of good looks, and I can’t think of a bad shot that he took. That’s the key to making the most of your shots….take shots that are good for you,” said Smith about Lambdin’s performance. “Ryan’s kind of learning our system. I ran a couple of plays for him to get him the ball. We felt his energy, and we tried to get him the ball as much as we could.”

Sawyer Brock led the team in scoring against the Raiders finishing with a team-high 24 points. Tyler Partin chipped in 10 points with four baskets from the field. Isaac Collett filled in the sixth man role off the bench tallying four points on the night.

McCreary Central was paced by Hunter Jones’ 23-point outing. Derrick Paige added 15 points to the final score.

The Raiders got on the scoreboard first with a basket by Paige to give themselves the 2-0 lead. That would be the last time McCreary led during the quarter with the Bobcats going on a 7-2 run to gain a 7-4 advantage. The run was capped with an alley-oop from Lambdin to Partin.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Brock midway through the quarter gave Bell a 13-6 lead with 3:24 remaining in the first. A 3-pointer by Jones was quickly answered by a Brock jumper and a putback by Partin to increase the Bobcat lead to 17-9.

A 3-pointer at the buzzer by Jones brought the score to 17-12 at the end of one.

The Bobcats pulled away to a double-digit lead early in the second after opening the quarter on a 10-2 run. The run ended with a layup from Lambdin that increased the lead to 27-14.

A 3-pointer by Jones stopped the bleeding temporarily before Bell went on a 7-0 run. A between the legs pass from Brock ended with a 3-pointer by Partin to cap the run and give the Bobcats a 34-17 lead with 2:25 remaining in the half.

McCreary Central was able to outscore Bell in the final two minutes of the second to cut the deficit to 39-24 heading into halftime.

Things began to unravel for the Bobcat defense in the third quarter. The team’s double-digit lead was gone with just under five minutes to go in the period. A layup by Strunk cut the lead to eight, 41-33.

A jumper by Jones with over a minute to go cut the lead to five, 45-40, before a layup by the senior narrowed the deficit to 46-42. A two-point floater by Lambdin increased the Bell lead to six before a 3-pointer by Troxell at the buzzer cut the deficit to 48-45 heading into the final period.

McCreary came to within two points, 51-49, early in the fourth off a Troxell jumper, but that was as close as they would come to regaining the lead they last held in the first quarter.

The Bobcats increased their lead to as much as nine down the stretch before claiming the six-point victory.

Up Next

Bell County (4-2) will travel to Buckhorn (2-6) at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

McCreary Central (4-3) will host Russell County (2-6) on Wednesday on the opening day of the Arby’s/KFC Holiday Classic.

———

Bell County 66, McCreary Central 60

BELL COUNTY (4-2)

Ryan Lambdin 8 4-4 23, Sawyer Brock 8 6-10 24, Kyle Burnett 2 0-0 4, Tyler Partin 4 1-6 10, Dawson Atkins 0 1-4 1, Isaac Collett 1 1-2 4. Totals: 23 13-26 66.

MCCREARY CENTRAL (4-3)

Hunter Jones 8 3-3 23, John Cash 1 0-0 3, Derrick Paige 7 1-2 15, Nick Longmire 2 1-2 5, Devin Strunk 3 0-0 7, Brandon Troxell 2 0-0 5, Caleb Cox 0 2-2 2. Totals: 23 7-9 60.

Bell County 17 22 9 18 — 66

McCreary Central 12 12 21 15 — 60

3-point goals: Bell County 7 (Lambdin 3, Brock 2, Partin 1, Collett 1), McCreary Central 7 (Jones 4, Cash 1, Troxell 1, Strunk 1).

Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN