Free throws send Bobcats past South Laurel, 72-56

Published 6:46 pm Sunday, January 9, 2022

Contributing writer

LONDON – Bell County connected on 16 of 18 free throws on Saturday as the Bobcats defeated South Laurel 62-56 in a key 13th Region showdown.

It was a battle of two of the top -ix basketball teams in the region during the Raymond Reed Classic.

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The Bobcats were 20 of 24 on the night from the free-throw line while South made 11 of 17.

Seniors Cameron Burnett and Dalton Stepp powered Bell High with 20 points apiece. Hayden Callebs followed with eight points. Chance Belcher and Carter McCune tossed in seven points each.

Bell County snapped a five-game winning streak by the Cardinals.

“A huge win for our guys tonight,” said Bell County coach Brad Sizemore. “I can’t tell you how proud of all of them I am. We played solid on both sides of the ball and made huge free throws down the stretch.”

Junior guard Parker Payne led a balanced scoring attack for South Laurel with 14 points. Ashton Garland, a sophomore guard, scored 12. Brayden Reed, a senior forward, added 10.

The Cardinals also received eight points from senior forward Rhys England. Eli Gover and Jordan Mabe tossed in six apiece.

Callebs and Belcher scored four points each as the Bobcats took a 12-8 lead after one quarter.

Burnett knocked down three baskets as Bell took a 22-19 advantage into the locker room. 3-pointers from Stepp and Belcher allowed the Bobcats to extend the lead to 38-32 after the third period.

South Laurel took a 43-42 lead midway through the fourth quarter but Bell used a 20-13 run to close the game and pick up the win.

It was the Bobcats’ first win over South since Jan. 13, 2012, ending a nine-game streak by the Cardinals.

“This is probably the biggest win I’ve had since I have came to Bell County,” said Sizemore. “Hopefully, this will help us keep the momentum going into next week because we have two more tough road games.

“Our guys are continuing to get better and find ways to win! It’s a great day to be a Bell County Bobcat,” added Sizemore, following the game.

Bell County (9-2) traveled to Harlan County on Tuesday and visits Corbin on Friday before playing host to Red Bird on Saturday in an afternoon game.

South Laurel (12-4) played host to Corbin on Tuesday in a 50th District showdown. The Cardinals will travel to Williamsburg on Friday another district encounter.
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In other action from the Raymond Reed Classic on Saturday, Rockcastle County rolled to a 98-84 win over Cordia.

The Rockets improved to 10-7 on the season while the Lions fell to 4-6.

Freshman guard Greg Brooks led Cordia with 25 points.

Senior forward Isaac Mills powered Knox Central with 25 points and 13 rebounds as the Panthers downed Montgomery County 92-59.

Gavin Chadwell, a sophomore forward, scored 17 and grabbed 11 boards for Knox Central.

The Panthers played host to Wayne County on Tuesday.

Montgomery County fell to 4-8 on the season.
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Also on Saturday, South Laurel edged the Bobcats 35-34 in junior varsity action.

Max Fullmer, a freshman forward, led the Cardinals with 10 points.

Eighth-grade guard Blake Burnett paced Bell County with 13 points. Noah Brock followed with 11. Austin Goodin scored four. Cooper Miracle, Elijah Hampton and Ethan Buell each tallied two points.

The Bobcats posted a 36-28 victory in the freshman game against the Cards.

Brock led the way for Bell High with 12 points. Burnett tossed in seven. Hampton scored five and Cayden Huff added four. Miracle, Jackson Walters, Goodin, and Buell each had two points.