The Middlesboro Yellow Jackets split a pair of games on Friday in the Pine Mountain Classic at Pineville High School. The Jackets defeated Eminence 75-66 behind big games from Austin Poindexter, Donnie Foister and Major Edwards early and then dropped an 81-63 decision to Rockcastle County in their late game.
Against Eminence Poindexter poured in a game-high 36 points to go along with 12 rebounds while Foister finished with 17 points and 14 assists and Edwards scored 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
“We beat a good Eminence team and those three guys all had double-doubles. Tyler Prater and Brandon Hale also played great so there were a lot of positives to take from the day,” MHS coach Russell Thompson said.
The Jackets jumped out to a 13-7 lead after one period as Foister and Edwards scored four points each. Poindexter got going in the second period and scored 15 of Middlesboro’s 17 points and the Jackets led 30-28 at the half.
“Any time we can get the ball to Poindexter in the post it’s usually a done deal,” Thompson said. “Foister’s shot is not falling right now, but we all know he can get hot and score in bunches. When he starts taking it to the hole and creating shots for himself and his teammates, that’s when we’re most productive. That’s what happened in the Eminence game.”
Foister scored six of his points in the third quarter as the Middlesboro lead grew to 44-39. Poindexter scored 15 more points in the fourth quarter and Foister hit five of six free throws and added seven points as the Jackets pulled away to win by nine.
Trevor Peyton, who led the Warriors with 18 points, and Jalen Dixie scored ten points each in the fourth quarter for Eminence.
In the Rockcastle game,the Rockets took the lead early as Josh Mason scored six first quarter points and Dakota Hasty hit a pair of 3s as they built a 20-11 lead.
The Jackets closed to within six early in the second period. Foister scored six points during a 7-2 run that made it 26-20 with 4:05 to go in the first half. Sam Pensol and Hasty scored five points each for the Rockets as they were able to push the lead back out to 40-25 by halftime.
Tyshon Kincaide and Prater opened the third quarter with baskets to get the Jackets back into it and another Kincaide bucket made it 44-31 with 4:50 to go in the third. Brandon Hale hit a 3 later in the quarter and Poindexter and Foister both converted three-point plays as Middlesboro got within 56-46 after three.
Justin Miracle hit a 3 and later came up with a steal and layup to get Middlesboro within 60-51, but the Rockets had an answer every time the Jackets closed within single digits.
“Kincaide came out after halftime and took the ball to the hole. Miracle hit a couple of outside shots and those are things we can do as long as we keep picking it up defensively,” Thompson said. “There were times we needed a stop and if there was a loose ball, they were quicker to it than we were. We’ve got to get better in that area.”
Hasty scored 14 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter as the Rockets pulled away to win by 18. Lucas Gentry added 18 points off the bench and Pensol finished with 16 for Rockcastle.
Poindexter and Foister scored 18 apiece to lead Middlesboro. Kincaide and Miracle added eight points each and Hale chipped in with six.
“That was our second game of the day and Rockcastle has got us a little bit on depth. We got a bit worn down,” Thompson said. “The biggest thing is to make sure our kids keep playing hard and they are, for the most part.
“We’ve been talking about putting four quarters together. Executing, keeping our focus and playing as a team for four quarters. We probably played with them for about three quarters. Our guys are starting to realize that if we’re going to be successful that’s the way we’ve got to do it.”
Middlesboro (3-8) will play host Pineville on Sunday at 2 p.m. to determine second place in the tournament.
Rockcastle County (6-8) plays Eminence (2-8) today at 1:30 p.m.
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MIDDLESBORO (75) — Donnie Foister 17, Brandon Hale 3, Tyler Prater 4, Major Edwards 11, Tyshon Kincaide 4, Austin Poindexter 36, Matt Mike 0, Justin Miracle 0, Abhishek Singh 0.
EMINENCE (66) — Trevor Payton 18, Jalen Dixon 14, Mitchell Golden 6, Cornelius Sanford 9, Shelby Armstrong 0, Jake McKinley 16, Cameron Jones 3, Mason Wells 0.
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ROCKCASTLE CO.(81) — Dakota Hasty 29, Sam Pensol 16, Josh Mason 8, Tyler Harper 6, Gage Reynolds 4, Lucas Gentry 18, Carson Noble 0, Dylan Rowe 0, Zach Loudermilk 0, Alex Spragens 0.
MIDDLESBORO (63) — Donnie Foister 18, Brandon Hale 6, Tyler Prater 4, Tyshon Kincaide 8, Major Edwards 1, Austin Poindexter 36, Justin Miracle 8, Matt Mike 0, Abhishek Singh 0, Cody Smith 0, Jared Gullett 0, Josh Buttery 0.