LOG MOUNTAIN — Getting back on their home floor was just what the Bobcats needed to snap out of their recent funk. Bell County shot nearly 60 percent from the field in Friday’s 72-49 win over Harlan that clinched the 52nd District’s top seed for the Bobcats.
Bell County (15-10 overall, 5-1 in district play) had played five of their last six games on the road and coach Lewis Morris was concerned with how they were playing even before dropping their last two.
“We moved better tonight that we had moved in a couple of weeks. I mean we’ve been really struggling,” he said. “We’ve been struggling shooting the ball, struggling to guard, struggling just running up and down the floor. (But) we looked like we had some legs tonight.”
Sophomore point guard Chase Woolum scored 21 points on eight-for-nine shooting and senior Tyler Potter also finished with 21 points to pace the Bell County offense. Zach Partin had eight points and nine rebounds while Jake Patterson handed out seven assists to go along with four points and seven boards. Josh Asher chipped in with seven points and Ben Collett added six off the bench.
“I thought Chase played a really good game. He saw the floor and he didn’t hesitate on his shot,” Morris said. “He’s capable of shooting the ball and he looked comfortable tonight. It looked like he had his mind right.”
The Bobcats hit 28 of 47 shots (59.6 percent) in the game, including four of nine 3-pointers. They had 14 assists to just nine turnovers and held a slight 29-27 rebounding edge.
“They shot it really well. It was a two-fold thing, part of it was them shooting the ball and part of it was us not defending very well. But I thought Bell County played very well,” Harlan coach David Parks said.
The Bobcats hit seven of their first nine shots in the game and Potter scored seven points during a 12-0 run punctuated by a Partin putback that made it 16-5 with 2:47 to go in the period. Woolum also scored seven points in the first quarter and Bell led 18-8 after one.
Drew Parks hit a 3-pointer on Harlan’s first possession and a basket from Noah Busroe had the Dragons up 5-4 early. But they would make just four more shots the rest of the first half.
Aaron Simpson scored six of Harlan’s seven points in the second quarter. Meanwhile, the Bobcats got four points each from Partin and Woolum and Asher hit a 3. The Bell lead grew to 16 points and by halftime it was 30-15.
“When you can’t score you have problems. If you can’t make baskets, at least from time to time, it creates all kinds of problems for you,” Parks said. “We didn’t shoot the ball a lick. It is what it is. We just have to move on and not dwell on it.”
Woolum was fouled while making a 3-pointer and converted the four-point play early in the third quarter and the Bobcat lead grew to 19 on a putback by Partin. A Potter steal led to a Woolum layup that made it 40-21 with 4:10 to go in the period.
From there Harlan outscored Bell 15-7. Busroe scored four points during the run, Leighton Piper converted a three point play and Tyler Miller scored on a putback and later capped the spurt with a steal and a dunk that brought the Dragons within 47-36 with 40.6 seconds left in the quarter. But Miller was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim on that play. Potter hit both technical free throws and then both ends of the bonus on the following possession and the Bobcat lead was back to 15.
Caleb Hogue scored Harlan’s first five points of the final period, including a jumper that made the score 57-43 with 6:18 to play. But Bell County put the game away by scoring the next 10 points. Potter, Collett, Asher and Patterson had baskets and two free throws from Woolum made it 67-43 with 3:42 left and both teams started substituting heavily as the Bobcats went on to the 23-point win.
Harlan was led by Simpson’s 12 points to go along with seven rebounds. Caleb Hogue added nine points and Tyler Miller finished with eight and a game-high 10 rebounds. The Dragons shot 40-percent for the game (18-of-45) and hit just one of 11 attempts from long range. They also turned the ball over 12 times.
“We were active on defense and made them shoot some shots quick. We kept it out of the post and that’s what we wanted to do,” Morris said. I thought Josh Asher did a real good job of boxing out, rebounding and moving. He had been struggling a little bit. I thought all of them did a pretty good job. It was a good win for them.”
Harlan (14-8 overall, 0-4 in district play) can still earn the number three seed for the district tournament with two wins over Middlesboro. The Dragons host the Jackets on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and then turnaround and play at Middlesboro at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.
“I wanted to win, all of these games are important to me. I don’t know if they’re all important to the kids. We have to win the next two to get the third seed. It’s very possible, or we could very easily lose the next two,” Parks said. “If we don’t play any better than we did tonight it will be tough. Hopefully we’ll be ready to play (Saturday). We’ll be at home for the first time in a while and hopefully they’ll be ready to roll.”
Bell County will be the top seed for the 52nd District Tournament, which starts in a little over a week. The Bobcats return to action on Tuesday at Barbourville.
“You start your district out wanting that number one seed. Ever how it ends up, it ends up. We’ve done all we can do, we’ve just got to come play no matter who it’s against,” Morris said. “We want to continue to get better. We’ve got a week to keep working.”
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HARLAN (14-8, 0-4)
Caleb Hogue 4-7 1-2 9, Noah Busroe 3-8 0-1 6, Aaron Simpson 4-10 4-4 12, Tyler Miller 4-7 0-2 8, Drew Parks 1-8, 0-0 3, Manny Davis 0-0 2-4 2, Leighton Piper 1-3 1-1 3, Jordan Dupar 1-1 2-2 4, Brandon Osborne 0-1 0-0 0, Tanner Parks 0-0 0-0 0, Austin Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Brandon Huff 0-0 1-2 1, Andrew Saylor 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 18-45 12-20 49.
BELL COUNTY (15-10, 5-1)
Chase Woolum 8-9 3-5 21, Tyler Potter 7-17 6-7 21, Zach Partin 4-6 0-3 8, Jake Patterson 2-5 0-0 4, Josh Asher 3-4 0-0 7, Ben Collett 2-2 2-2 6, Cody Ferguson 0-0 0-0 0, Ethan Gambrel 0-0 1-2 1, Donovan Napier 1-1 0-0 2, Vic Morris 1-2 0-0 2, Trent Lefevers 0-1 0-0 0, Jacob Hunley 0-0 0-0 0, Cody Carnes 0-0 0-0 0, Dalton Callebs 0-0 0-0 0, Adam Jones 0-0 0-0 0.
|3-point goals: Harlan 1-11 (DParks 1-7, Hogue 0-2, Simpson 0-1, Piper 0-1), Bell 4-9 (Woolum 2-2, Potter 1-6, Asher 1-1). Rebounds: Harlan 27 (Miller 10, Simpson 7), Bell 29 (Partin 9, Patterson 7). Assists: Harlan 8 (Busroe 3), Bell 14 (Patterson 7, Potter 3). Turnovers: Harlan 12, Bell 9. Total fouls: Harlan 15, Bell 20. Fouled out: None. Techinical foul: Harlan (Miller).|