Lions beat Eminence, fall to Rockcastle

Jay Compton Sports Editor

December 28, 2013

After losing their opening game of the Pine Mountain Classic, 65-60 to Rockcastle County, the Mountain Lions really needed a win in their late game. Junior guard Cody Collett came through bigtime in the fourth quarter. He hit 14 of 14 free throws and scored 18 of his game-high 35 points in the final period as Pineville pulled away for 65-47 win over Eminence.

Collett finished an impressive 22 of 23 from the charity stripe and also hit 3 of 5 three-point attempts in the game.

“Cody is a good player and he really had a strong offensive night all the way around, not just shooting the ball. That’s a good sign to see,” Pineville coach J.D. Strange said. “Cody has been playing hard for us and we knew that shot was there. Maybe this was a break-out night for him.”

Collett hit two 3s and two free throws in the first quarter and Dalton Ledbetter scored five points as the Lions jumped out to an 18-6 lead. But Eminence got a 3-pointer and then a three-point play from from Shelby Armstrong and then a 3 from Trevor Payton to close within 18-15 after one.

“The kids were really into it offensively a lot better tonight. I thought our defense played pretty well, but we let a couple of shooters get loose and let them get back into it,” Strange said. “The bottom line is there at the end our kids gutted it out, battled and showed a lot of composure. They made better decisions late in the ballgame.”

Collett scored nine points in the second period and Lions led by as many as ten before settling for a 35-26 halftime lead.

The third quarter saw the Warriors battle back behind two threes from Payton and one each from Jalen Dixie and Cameron Jones with Jones giving Eminence a 43-42 lead after three quarters.

Collett converted a three-point play and then hit both ends of the bonus to put the Lions on top for good at 47-45 with 6:44 to play. He would continue to get to the line and convert as the Lions pulled away.

Ledbetter finished with 12 points and nine rebounds and Conner Ford added eight and ten in the game. Those two seniors along with John Robbins controlled the glass for much of the night, especially in the fourth quarter as the Lions outscored the Warriors 23-4 to pull away.

“That was a big key. They started hitting some shots and that got them back into the game. That’s discouraging enough in and of itself, but if you give them second opportunities it seems like it crushes you,” Strange added. “I thought our kids did a good job of that and we switched to a straight man late to discourage some of the outside shooting.”

In the early game against Rockcastle, the Lions got behind 23-14 after one quarter and it was 42-28 at the half. Pineville used a 19-7 scoring edge in the third quarter to get back into the game and eventually took the lead in the fourth. But the Rockets were able rally late to pull out the five-point win.

Sam Pensol and Josh Mason scored 14 points each to lead six Rockets in double-figures. Dakota Hasty finished with 13, Carson Noble 11 and Lucas Gentry 10.

“We dug a hole and had 14 turnovers in the first half. Everybody thought we were Santa Claus the way we were giving stuff away,” Strange said. “But the second half we dug down and fought back. We only had three turnovers, did a lot better job of executing. We took the lead, but just made some inexperienced decisions at the end. Hopefully we’ll learn, we need more seasoning obviously, but we’re getting it.”

Ledbetter led the Lions with 20 points and eight rebounds in that one while Ford added eleven points and eleven rebounds. Collett also had eleven points and Robbins finished with ten.

Pineville (4-6) hosts Middlesboro on Sunday at 2 p.m. in the tournament finale while Rockcastle County (6-8) plays Eminence (2-8) today at 1:30 p.m.

— — —

Rockcastle Co. 23 19 7 16 65
Pineville 14 14 19 13 60

ROCKCASTLE CO.(65) — Dakota Hasty 13, Tyler Harper 0, Josh Mason 14, Sam Pensol 14, Gage Reynolds 1, Carson Noble 11, Lucas Gentry 10, Dylan Rowe 2, Blake Mullins 0.

PINEVILLE (60) — Cody Collett 11, Isaac Longworth 6, Dalton Ledbetter 20, Conner Ford 11, John Robbins 10, Will Adams 2, Tucker Woolum 0, Thomas Brock 0, Jalen Byrd 0, Keith Sexton 0, John Sproles 0.

— — —

Eminence 15 11 17 4

Pineville 18 17 7 23 65

EMINENCE (47) — Trevor Payton 14, Jalen Dixie 11, Cornelius Sanford 7, Shelby Armstrong 7, Mitchell Golden 2, Jake McKinley 3, Cameron Jones 3, Mason Wells 0, Isiah Dixie 0, Tyrei Hanlon 0.

PINEVILLE (65) — Cody Collett 35, Isaac Longworth 5, Dalton Ledbetter 12, Conner Ford 8, John Robbins 2, Will Adams 2, John Sproles 1, Tucker Woolum 0, Jalen Byrd 0, Thomas Brock 0, Keith Sexton 0, Joseph Simpson 0, Jacob Shackleford 0.