BARBOURVILLE — Middlesboro looked like a team set on defending their 13th Region All “A” championship as the Yellow Jackets turned in their most efficient offensive game of the season in an 85-73 first round win over Lynn Camp on Wednesday.
Seniors Austin Poindexter (38 points on 15-of-18 shooting to go along with eight rebounds) and Donnie Foister (31 points on 12-of-19 shooting and seven assists) led the way for the Jackets. Middlesboro also got seven points and 11 rebounds from Tyler Prater, two 3-pointers for six points from Brandon Hale and three points and 12 boards from Major Edwards.
“We’re the defending champions and the guys take a little pride in that. I believe Foister and Poindexter remember how much fun it was and what an experience it was to play in Frankfort (in the All ‘A’ state tournament). I think you saw them show how bad they want it in the way they led our team,” Middlesboro coach Russell Thompson said.
Foister found Poindexter for a pair of early baskets that became three-point plays and MHS took control with an 8-0 run midway through the first quarter. Prater scored inside to give Middlesboro the lead, Poindexter found Hale on the wing for a 3-pointer and added a basket during the spurt. A free throw from Foister put the Jackets up 16-8.
Lynn Camp got six first quarter points from Bruce Hopkins and four each from Justin Hammonds, Skylar McFarland and Austin Allen to stay within striking distance. But Poindexter hit six of his seven shots on the way to 14 first-period points and Foister swished a half-court three at the buzzer for a 27-18 lead.
Middlesboro led by as many as 11 in the second quarter, but the Wildcats got a boost off the bench from Austyn Weddle. Weddle scored all eight of his points in the period and a Hammonds layup after a steal cut the lead to 35-33 with just under 4:00 left in the half.
Foister answered with a 3, Poindexter later converted a three-point play and two baskets by Foister put the Jackets up 47-37 before Hopkins closed the half with a 3-pointer.
“We’ve still got to work on playing consistent. At halftime I told them we played for about a quarter-and-a-half. We had about a four-minute lull where our bench came in and just wasn’t very productive and that let Lynn Camp get back in it,” Thompson said. “That hurt us. Edwards, Prater and Hale were in foul trouble and I’ve got have some other guys step up when they get that opportunity. They’ve done it here and there, but they’ve got to get more consistent with it and as a team we’ve got to be consistent for four quarters.”
Middlesboro’s lead stayed between six and eight points for most of the third quarter until treys from Edwards and Hale helped extend the advantage to 60-48 by the 2:40 mark. Foister scored nine of his points in the period, including a three-point play that made it a 15-point game and the Jackets were up 69-56 after three quarters.
Hammonds scored eight of his 19 points in the fourth quarter for Lynn Camp, including a basket with 2:17 to play that brought the Wildcats within seven. But Poindexter scored eight more points down the stretch and Edwards and Prater controlled the boards as the Jackets went on to win by 12.
“Prater was battling foul trouble in the second half, but he basically sealed the deal by pulling down a couple of those boards late. Edwards had 12 rebounds as well and if we can get 23 rebounds and 12 points from those two positions we’re going to be pretty solid,” Thompson added.
Middlesboro shot 60-percent for the game (33-of-55) and enjoyed a 37-29 rebounding edge. Lynn Camp was 30-of-66 from the field, including just 2-of-13 from three-point range and the Wildcats won the turnover battle 18-11.
Along with Hammonds’ 19 points, Lynn Camp got 16 points and ten rebounds from McFarland, 15 points from Hopkins and nine from Austin Withrow.
The seeds for Wednesday’s performance were planted in the aftermath of Middlesboro’s disappointing effort at Knott Central in the WYMT Mountain Classic. Thompson said he met with each player individually after that game.
“Each kid told me they wanted to do more. Poindexter told me he’s ready to lead and he’s been practicing like that. Tonight he played like it. I’m looking forward to what he’s capable of doing in the future as well,” the coach said.
Poindexter was attacking the basket from the start and helped to speed up the game at the head of the Jackets’ 1-3-1 press.
“I like to put him on top of that to get him moving because when he’s playing hard on defense it carries over to the offensive end. There’s a lot of pressure on Austin, because he’s got to play like that every night for us to be successful,” Thompson added. “We want to get the ball to Foister and Poindexter as much as possible and if they’ll stay hungry and attack like they did tonight… We want to win two more and get back to Frankfort.”
Middlesboro (4-12) advances to play Jackson County in Thursday’s late semifinal. Lynn Camp (3-14) hosts Oneida Baptist on Saturday. Jackson beat Williamsburg 83-52 in Wednesday’s late first round game and the Generals routed the Jackets 89-36 back on Dec. 9.
“We played them up there early in the year and they handed it to us. They shoot it extremely well and make you come out on them defensively,” Thompson said. “If we can be patient, take care of the basketball and get it to people that can do things with it then I think we’ll be alright.”
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Austin Poindexter 15-18 8-10 38, Donnie Foister 12-19 5-8 31, Tyler Prater 3-5 1-2 7, Major Edwards 1-4 0-0 3, Brandon Hale 2-5 0-0 6, Tyshon Kincaide 0-2 0-2 0, Justin Miracle 0-1 0-0 0, Cody Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Abhishek Singh 0-0 0-0 0, Matthew Mike 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 33-55 14-22 85.
LYNN CAMP (3-14)
Justin Hammonds 8-24 2-4 19, Bruce Hopkins 7-10 0-0 15, Austin Allen 3-7 0-0 6, Skylar McFarland 6-16 4-5 16, Austin Withrow 4-6 1-2 9, Jensen Hollin 0-0 0-0 0, Justin Taylor 0-0 0-0 0, Austyn Weddle 2-3 4-7 8, Antonio Tepesano 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-66 11-18 73.
|3-point goals — MHS 5-8 (Foister 2-4, Hale 2-2, Edwards 1-1, Miracle 0-1), LC 2-13 (Hammonds 1-7, Hopkins 1-3, McFarland 0-3). Rebounds — MHS 37 (Edwards 12, Prater 11, Poindexter 8), LC 29 (McFarland 10, Hammonds 7). Assists — MHS 12 (Foister 7), LC 8 (McFarland 4). Turnovers — MHS 18, LC 11. Total fouls — MHS 17, LC 19. Fouled out — MHS: Prater, Edwards; LC: Allen. |