Middlesboro Daily News
HARLAN —Bell County’s defensive pressure was just too much for the young Harlan Dragons to handle Monday as the Bobcats jumped out to a 10-2 lead and cruised to a 68-44 win in 52nd District action.
“The thing with us is we couldn’t score early and when we couldn’t score it seemed like we couldn’t do anything. Everything fell apart,” said Harlan coach David Parks. “We played really well Monday and beat Barbourville and I thought we were ready to take the next step, but we’re not. We still play hard, but we just don’t play real smart from time to time.”
The Bobcats were led by junior guard Tyler Potter’s 20 points while Josh Asher added 15 and Cody Ferguson eight.
David Allen paced Harlan with 12 points while Nathan Young added eight points and Aaron Simpson six.
“We got some good movement going and hit a few shots. For the most part we played hard and we got the win,” said Bell coach Lewis Morris. “Harlan is getting better, you can tell. I think some of the turnovers they had really hurt them and gave us the opportunity to get some easy buckets.”
Potter scored nine of his points in the first quarter as the Bobcats assumed a 16-7 lead.
“Turnovers hurt, but we had four points with about two minutes left in the first quarter. We missed point blank shot after shot after shot. They shot it pretty well early and we’re down 10-2 before I can even call a timeout,” Parks said. “We’re just not able to overcome those things. It’s a work in progress.
Harlan tightened things up in the second quarter as Caleb Hogue scored four points and Isiaiah Johnson converted a three-point play, but Potter and Asher scored four each and Jake Patterson hit a 3 as the Bell lead was 32-21 at halftime.
Bell opened the third quarter with fullcourt man pressure and turned a pair of turnovers into baskets from Zach Partin and Potter and forced Parks into calling a quick timeout. Asher scored nine points over the rest of the quarter as the Bell led ballooned to 56-30 going into the fourth.
“It was a sloppy game. We did some good things and then we’d do some bad things,” Morris said. “Jake (Patterson) is hurt and we’ve kind of got out of rhythm a little big not having him out there. He sprained his ankle in the first quarter against Clay County, I tried to play him a little bit but he came down on it again. It’s just one of those things he’s going to have to get over.”
Davis Allen scored eight of his points in the fourth quarter for Harlan as the while Donavan Napier scored four off the bench for Bell County as the Bobcats went on to the 24-point win.
“I really hate that we didn’t play any better than we did because we had such a good crowd here tonight. Again, it wasn’t for lack of effort it was that we just couldn’t get anything done
“We had some kids in that don’t play much and they were throwing it all over the place. I brought some guys in to kind of settle them down a little bit. We played a lot of kids, and even when they come in off the bench they’ve got to be able to do their job.”
Harlan (7-14, 1-4) returns to action Thursday at Harlan County. Bell County (9-12, 4-1) hosts Middlesboro on Friday.
BELL COUNTY (68): Tyler Potter 20, Josh Asher 15, Cody Ferguson 8, Ben Collett 7, Chase Woolum 5, Zach Partin 4, Donavan Napier 4, Jake Patterson 3, Peyton Collett 2, Tan Hudson 0, Adam Jones 0, Jacob Hunley 0.
HARLAN (44): David Allen 12, Nathan Young 8, Aaron Simpson 6, Caleb Hogue 4, Isaiah Johnson 4, Manny Davis 4, Dakota Morris 4, Leighton Piper 2, Drew Parks 0.