Bears rally for overtime win over MHS

Published 10:20 pm Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Three straight trips into overtime against Harlan County have not gone well for the Middlesboro Yellow Jackets, who have been painfully close to ending a long losing streak against the Black Bears. Harlan County trailed by 12 going into the fourth quarter on Tuesday at home before rallying behind senior guard Alex Pace, who scored nine points in a 12-1 run.

Middlesboro rallied from five down in the final two minutes to force an overtime, but just like in their two previous wins over Middlesboro, including last year’s 52nd District Tournament, the Bears made the plays in the extra period for a 63-61 victory.

“It’s a toughness issue for us,” said Middlesboro coach Lewis Morris. “We have to learn how to finish. When a team switches defenses like that on you, then you have to be able to take your time. We went berserk for a while, for about three or four minutes in the fourth quarter.”

Pace had missed all six of his shots through three quarters as the Bears fell behind 39-27. The senior guard opened the period with a 3-pointer, then two free throws. After Middlesboro’s Mykel Griffin and Harlan County’s Tyler Cole traded free throws, Pace reeled off seven straight to pull HCHS within one. After a free throw by Jabari Kyle pushed the lead to two, Pace scored on a putback to tie the game and Cole hit a 3-pointer from the corner to put the Bears ahead.

Middlesboro fought back behind four straight points from Griffin and a basket by Josh Overbay off a Trey Brock steal. Harlan County’s James Smith tied the game with 39 seconds left. Kyle and Brock each missed shots in the closing seconds to force overtime.

“For us to be able to score 27 points in the fourth quarter after scoring only 26 in the first three, it says a lot about Alex and the entire team,” Harlan County coach Michael Jones said. “Once we got the lead back, we made some silly mistakes, but I was proud of the way our kids battled back.”

Harlan County senior forward Gabe Price had two straight baskets early in the overtime and Cole hit two free throws to put the Bears up by four. Scott Overbay’s 3-pointer cut the deficit to one, but Smith connected on two free throws with 43.3 seconds left. Middlesboro ran the clock down to 5.1 seconds before T.J. Patterson drew a foul. He hit both shots to make it a one-point game.

Pace hit one of two at the line with 3.8 seconds left. Overbay was unable to connect from halfcourt as the game ended.

A 17-point performance by Pace led the Bears. Cole and Taylor Spurlock added 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Kyle scored 16 and Griffin added 14 to lead the Jackets.

Harlan County (17-5 overall, 5-0 district) plays host to Harlan on Friday in a district doubleheader. Middlesboro (11-9 overall, 0-4 district) plays host to Bell County on Friday in a district doubleheader.

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Harlan County 63, Middlesboro 61 (OT)

MIDDLESBORO (11-9)

Jabari Kyle 6-17 2-3 16, Christian Hubbard 1-1 2-2 4, Trey Brock 3-5 3-6 9, Scott Overbay 1-6 0-0 3, Mykel Griffin 4-8 6-6 14, Josh Oveebay 3-10 0-1 7, T.J. Patterson 1-1 2-2 4, Andrew Padgett 2-2 0-0 4, Jordan Davis 0-1 0-0 0, Scott Poore 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-52 15-20 61.

HARLAN COUNTY (17-5)

James Smith 3-8 2-4 8, Taylor Spurlock 2-10 5-6 10, Alex Pace 5-15 5-6 17, Tyler Cole 2-8 7-8 13, Gabe Price 3-6 3-4 9, Patrick Bynum 1-3 0-0 3, Josh Turner 0-0 0-0 0, Jackson Huff 1-2 0-0 3. Totals: 17-51 22-28 63.

Middlesboro 9 17 13 14 8 — 61

Harlan County 10 8 9 26 10 — 63

3-point goals: Middlesboro 4-15 (Kyle 2-5, J. Overbay 1-4, S. Overbay 1-6), Harlan County 7-27 (Cole 2-3, Pace 2-8, Huff 1-2, Bynum 1-3, Spurlock 1-6, Price 0-1, Smith 0-4). Rebounds: Middlesboro 30 (Brock 7, J. Overbay 5, Patterson 5, Kyle 4, Griffin 3, S. Overbay 2, Padgett 2, Hubbard 1, Poore 1), Harlan County 32 (Cole 8, Spurlock 7, Pace 6, Price 5, Smith 3, Bynum 2, Huff 1). Turnovers: Middlesboro 10, Harlan County 10. Technical fouls: Middlesboro (Hubbard), Harlan County (Price). Fouled out: Middlesboro (Hubbard, Brock), Harlan County (Spurlock, Price).