Bell ekes out a win over Tigers

Published 9:31 am Thursday, February 1, 2018

For a 21-minute stretch, Bell County trailed Barbourville during Tuesday’s game. With the exception of about a minute in the first quarter, the Bobcats chased the Tigers looking for a chance to claim the lead again.

Barbourville allowed Bell to hang around through the game never leading by more than seven points. The Bobcats took the lead late in the third on an and-1 by Sawyer Brock and held off the Tigers for a 62-61 victory.

Despite the win, Bell coach Frankie Smith expressed some concern with the way the team is playing at the moment.

“I love my guys, but I don’t like the way we’re playing right now. I just don’t like our vibes that we have right now,” said Smith. “We had to keep searching the second half with mixing up defenses to kind of get them out of a rhythm.”

Sawyer Brock was the jolt of energy Bell County needed in the second half. The junior guard scored 12 of his game-high 20 points after halftime. Both Tyler Partin and Colby Frazier ended the night with 11 points while Trey Brock chipped in nine.

“I told our guys…I wanted to attack more early than take threes. They way (Barbourville) had it packed in, threes were what we were shooting a lot of in the first quarter,” said Smith. “I don’t want to say we took bad threes, they just weren’t going in.

“We don’t really have an identity. Are we a great defensive team, no. Are we a great offensive team, no. Are we are great basketball IQ (and) decision-making team, not at all. We do play hard and we don’t quit. To upset good teams and to win consistently we have to add something to just playing hard.”

Barbourville finished the night shooting 46.5 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from beyond the arc. Christian Bunch used three 3-pointers to help him to a team-high 17 points. John McVey shot a team-high 83.3 percent from the field on his way to 13 points.

After trailing 18-13 coming out of the first quarter, Bell quickly closed the gap with a layup from Partin that cut the lead to 18-15.

The two teams traded baskets for most of the period with Creg Gray and Connor Bain hitting consecutive shots to increase the Tiger lead to 26-21 with just over two minutes to play in the half.

A second basket from Gray gave Barbourville their largest lead of the game at seven, 28-21. The Bobcats responded with a Partin floater that cut the lead to five again, 28-23.

Coming out of a timeout, a Trey Brock block led to a foul at the other end with 4.6 seconds remaining in the frame. Partin hit both free throws to narrow the margin to 28-25 heading into halftime.

Barbourville’s lead never grew to more than five points during the third period with a Partin layup tying the game at 37-37 with 2:53 to go in the quarter. Bell County finally grabbed the lead after Sawyer Brock converted the and-1 to give the Bobcats a 40-39 lead with 1:54 remaining in the third.

Bell ended the quarter with a 3-pointer from Issac Collett to give them a 45-42 advantage going into the final frame.

Barbourville found themselves in a similar position in the fourth quarter that Bell County did the majority of the game. The Bobcat lead increased to as much as eight with just over two minutes to go in regulation.

The Tigers didn’t wilt under pressure. Bunch was fouled on a three-point attempt with 2:03 remaining and hit all three shots to cut the lead to 55-50. After a Trey Brock layup, McVey hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to four, 57-53.

With 1:12 to go, Shawn Vaughn was foul beyond the arc and hit all three of his shots to narrow the deficit to one, 57-56.

Bell County answered with a pair of free throws from Partin and a free throw from Frazier to increase the lead to 60-56 with 46.8 seconds remaining. Trenton Schall hit a shot to cut the lead to two before a pair of Frazier free throws returned the lead back to four.

A long 3-pointer from McVey quickly cut the lead to one with only seconds remaining. Sawyer Brock was quickly fouled on the ensuing possession with 9.6 seconds left, but the junior missed both free throws.

Barbourville sprinted down the court and missed a short jumper at the buzzer to allow the Bobcats to exit Log Mountain with the victory.

Up Next

Bell County (14-5) will look to extend their four-game winning streak on Friday at 7:30 p.m. when they travel to Middlesboro (10-12).

Barbourville (10-11) will host Lynn Camp (17-3) on Friday.

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Bell County 62, Barbourville 61

BELL COUNTY (14-5)

Sawyer Brock 9 2-6 20, Tyler Partin 3 5-7 11, Ryan Lambdin 1 0-0 3, Trey Brock 3 3-4 9, Colby Frazier 3 4-5 11, Issac Collett 2 0-0 6, Dawson Atkins 1 0-0 2. Totals: 22 14-22 62.

BARBOURVILLE (10-11)

Connor Bain 1 2-4 4, Christian Bunch 4 6-9 17, Jacob Helton 3 0-0 6, John McVey 5 0-0 13, Trenton Schall 2 0-0 5, Creg Gray 2 2-3 6, Andrew Smith 1 0-0 3, Shawn Vaughn 2 3-3 7. Totals: 20 13-19 61.

Bell County 13 12 20 17 — 62

Barbourville 18 10 14 19 — 61

3-point goals: Bell County 4 (Collett 2, Lambdin 1, Frazier 1), Barbourville 8 (Bunch 3, McVey 3, Schall 1, Smith 1).

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