Middlesboro pulls away, defeats Pineville 55-44

Published 12:45 pm Monday, December 16, 2019

With both teams having lost their last game, Middlesboro and Pineville were both seeking much needed victory on Friday night. After multiple lead changes in a very energetic environment, the Yellow Jackets were able to separate from the host Mountain Lions in the fourth quarter and secure a 55-44 victory against their cross county rival.

Middlesboro was led in scoring by T.J. Patterson with 19 points. He was followed by Jabari Kyle with 17. Trey Brock added seven, Eric Helton chipped in six, Jay Tyler added four and Blaine Woody added two.

Pineville was led by Sean Phipps with 16 points. He was followed by Evan Biliter with seven, Dalton Mason had five, Eli Thompson added five, Austin Fuson added four, Clay Goodin chipped in three, and Keean Fuson and Landon Couch added two points each.

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“That was an awesome environment for a high school basketball game,” said Pineville coach Brad Levy. “The crowd was great on both sides and our band had the place rocking.”

“Jabari Kyle is a heck of a player and he made some big plays down the stretch for them,” he said. “Patterson ate us up on the boards in the second half and it hurt us.”

“I was happy with the team’s effort,” said Middlesboro coach Lewis Morris. “We made some mistakes and didn’t execute well at times, but they continued to fight hard throughout the game.”

“We had several guys come in and contribute. We will need to keep working and practicing with energy in order to improve.”

The game began with Middlesboro going on a 4-0 run. Phipps halted the run with an emphatic dunk off of a fast break to put the Mountain Lions on the board.

The Yellow Jackets built a 7-2 lead on a three-point basket from Patterson. Mason stepped to the charity stripe for Pineville with an opportunity to chip away at the lead, but came up empty after missing the pair of free throws.

Both teams struggled offensively in the first quarter, with Middlesboro outscoring Pineville 9-5. Phipps had all five of the Lions’ first quarter points.

A. Fuson was the first Pineville player other than Phipps to find the scoring column. Early in the second, he delivered a layup on a break away, bringing the game back to within two points at 9-7.

Phipps was able to tie the game at 9-9 on an offensive rebound put-back before Tyler-West gave the Yellow Jackets an 11-9 lead on his first basket of the night.

Woody extended the lead to 13-9 for Middlesboro on his only basket of the game on the following play.

Biliter added a two-point basket to halt the Jackets’ 4-0 run before Kyle added a lay p to extend the Middlesboro lead to 15-11.

The Lions added a free throw from Biliter and a layup from Couch to pull to within one point of Middlesboro. Helton then stepped to the line for the Jackets, connecting on both free throws, extending the lead back to three points at 17-14 with just under half of the second period remaining.

Mason connected on a 3-pointer to tie the game at 17-17 before Kyle gave the Jackets the lead back on a 15-foot jumper with just over one and a half minutes remaining in the half.

Phipps worked his way inside to tie the game at 19 apiece before Kyle connected on a 3-pointer, giving Middlesboro a 22-19 advantage with under a minute remaining before the half.

With time expiring in the first half, Biliter netted a shot to beat the buzzer, allowing Pineville to pull to within one point of Middlesboro at the half, 22-21.

As play resumed after the half, the Lions were able to take their first lead of the game at 23-22. Opening the period on a 6-2 run, Pineville took a 27-24 lead with just over six minutes remaining in the third.

The Lions’ lead would grow to 29-26 before Middlesboro was able to regain the lead at 32-31 with just over four minutes remaining before the final period.

After Patterson connected on a free throw to complete the “and-one,” Goodin was able to knot the game at 33 apiece on a stop-and-shoot jumper.

With two big baskets from Kyle and a layup from Brock, Middlesboro was able to extend its lead to 39-33 heading into the final quarter.

A pair of costly turnovers for Pineville allowed the Jackets to extend their lead to eight points in the opening minutes of the fourth at 41-33.

A. Fuson and Thompson each delivered on interior jump shots to chip away at the Jackets’ lead, bringing the score to 41-37 with four and a half minutes remaining in the game. Each team was in the bonus with eight fouls apiece.

Helton extended Middlesboro’s lead back to six after cutting to the basket for a layup. Patterson then added a free throw to extend the lead to 48-39 with three minutes left.

After a foul from Kyle put the Lions in the double bonus, Phipps connected on a pair of free throws, chipping away at the Jackets’ lead, 48-41.

With the clock becoming a factor, Middlesboro began to work the ball around the outside to chew up game time. With just under a minute remaining, Patterson connected on a layup through contact and completed the “and-one,” giving the Jackets their largest lead of the game at 51-41.

Middlesboro added four more points and Pineville added three more to give the Jackets an 11-point victory on the road.

“I was pleased with how hard our kids played tonight,” said Levy. The energy and effort was there all night, Middlesboro just made a couple more plays than us. They are really tough to play ‘catch up ball’ with because they take such good care of the ball.”

“I thought TJ was the difference on both ends tonight,” said Morris. “It’s still early in the season and our conditioning isn’t great, but tonight they fought through fatigue and that’s improvement for this time of the season.”

With the victory, Middlesboro improved to 2-2 on the season. They will take on the Harlan County Black Bears on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. on the road.

With the loss, Pineville moved to 2-2 on the year. They defeated the Berea Pirates 78-73 the following day to improve to 3-2 on the season. They were slated to take on Buckhorn at home on Monday.


Middlesboro (2-2) (55): T.J. Patterson 19, Jabari Kyle 17, Trey Brock 7, Eric Helton 6, Jay Tyler-West 4, Blaine Woody 2.

Pineville (2-2) (44): Sean Phipps 16, Evan Biliter 7, Dalton Mason 5, Eli Thomson 5, Austin Fuson 4, Clay Goodin 3, Keaan Fuson 2, Landon Couch 2.