LOG MOUNTAIN – A buzzer-beating putback from Cody Ferguson was an appropriately dramatic conclusion to arguably the biggest upset in the 13th Region this season. The Bell County junior grabbed a Jake Patterson miss and hit a layup as time expired to lift the Bobcats to a stunning 56-54 upset of regional favorite Harlan County on Friday.
“I’m proud of them. We have had probable eight games where we have been leading in the last minute and missed free throws, people hit halfcourt shots and had everything in the world happen,” said Bell County coach Lewis Morris. “I’m just so happy for them, because they pulled it out.”
Sophomore Tyler Miller hit a layup with just nine seconds left, after an assist from Tyler Brewer, to tie the game for the fourth time in the final period. But, like the three previous occasions, the Bobcats found a way to regain the advantage. A three-point play from Brewer and two straight baskets from Alex Sergent pulled the Bears even in the final 2:30, but Bell County’s Tyler Potter answered each time to give the lead back to his Bobcats. Potter had six of the Bell’s final eight points and eight points total in the fourth quarter to keep the Cats in front. The junior finished with a game-high 26 points.
Brewer opened with the game’s first four points to give Harlan County the early lead. Bell County took the lead with a trio of 3-pointers, before Miller tied the game at 12 on a basket with 1:40 left in the first quarter. However, Potter and Patterson each responded with a trey down the stretch to give the Bobcats a six-point lead. The duo each had nine points and combined for five 3-pointers in the first quarter to go up 18-12.
Bell County kept the lead throughout the second quarter. A pair of free throws from Aaron Caldwell closed the gap to two, but Josh Asher capped the half with his only bucket to make it 27-23 at the break.
The Bobcats maintained the four-point lead in the third quarter. Six straight points from Potter gave Bell a seven point advantage late in the period, but Aaron Caldwell drove the baseline for a layup and Brewer had three free throws in the final minute to reduce the deficit to 40-36.
Brewer did his best to keep the Bears in it in the second half. The senior point guard turned in 14 of his team-high 23 points in the final two periods.
“I played about two or three people on the Brewer kid because we couldn’t hardly guard him even when he was younger. He is good at getting to the basket, and he is athletic. I think rolling them in there kind of helped us. It made him take some tough shots anyway,” Morris said.
Harlan County coach Mike Jones declined to comment following the loss.
Harlan County (16-4) returns to action Tuesday at home against Knox Central, while Bell County (8-10) will travel to Clay County.
Bell County (56) – Chase Woolum 4, Tyler Potter 26, Cody Ferguson 4, Jake Patterson 16, Josh Asher 2, Ben Collett 0, Tan Hudson 0, Zach Partin 0, Peyton Collett 4.
Harlan County (54) – Tyler Brewer 23, Alex Sergent 6, Chad Massingill 4, Aaron Caldwell 8, Tyler Miller 10, Zach Caldwell 2, Cody Bumgardner 1, James Bond 0.