Bell County earned arguably their most significant victory since capturing the 13th Region title three years ago as they pulled out a 61-58 win over defending regional champ Clay County on Tuesday.
“This was a good win for ‘em. I thought they played well,” Bell coach Lewis Morris said of his Bobcats..
Senior guard Tyler Potter scored 14 of his game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter and the Bobcats held Clay standout Tyler McDaniel to just seven points and three assists on the night. The Tigers struggled from the outside as they combined to hit just three of their 19 three-point attempts.
Potter was joined in double-figures by senior forwards Jake Patterson with 16 points and Josh Asher with 10. Sophomore center Zach Partin added eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds while Chase Woolum handed out six assists to go along with two points.
“We needed it. I mean we’ve been playing pretty decent against some tough competition, but we’ve not been getting a good balance going,” Morris said. “We’ve talked all week about everybody contributing. You can’t win with one kid and tonight they chased Potter, they chased Jake and other kids stepped up. I thought we did a good job in the post of attacking and getting the ball where it needed to be. We also did a pretty good job rebounding.”
Sophomore guard Blake Smith led the Tigers with 16 points while Wes Wolfe added 14 and senior center Jake Allen 10 to go along with nine rebounds. McDaniel and Trey Farmer both finished with seven.
Patterson carried the Bobcat offense early as he scored nine of his points in the first period. Clay County got eight from Smith and four from Wolfe and led it 16-13 after one.
An Allen basket early in the second quarter matched the Tigers’ biggest lead at 18-13. Clay wouldn’t score over the next 3:20 and the Bobcats got 3s from Asher, Potter and Patterson to take a 22-18 lead with 4:50 to play in the half.
Partin made a strong move in the paint and scored over Allen to push the Bobcat lead to six. Asher, who scored seven of his points in the second quarter, added a basket off a feed from Woolum to make it 28-22 with 1:11 to go.
Clay County forced three Bell turnovers in the final minute and got a layup from Wolfe and a trey from McDaniel to get within 28-27 by halftime.
“We wanted to keep (McDaniel) out of the lane as much as possible because he’s really good at getting to the free throw line and pulling up or dipsy-dooing and scooping it,” Morris said. “Potter did a good job on him tonight. I know he got loose there once or twice and I told Potter that if he can’t guard him give him to somebody else. He said, Coach he’s only got two on me. I told him to guard him better, but he did a good job.”
The Tigers used an 8-2 run to take a 35-32 lead on a Wolfe basket at the 4:57 mark of the third quarter. Partin and Patterson both had to leave the game and change their jerseys after a little bit of blood was found on both of their uniforms and senior Ben Collett provided a nice spark off the bench during that time. He scored Bell’s only two points during Clay’s spurt and later knocked down a jumper.
Bell County reeled off eight straight points — two free throws from Patterson and baskets from Potter, Collett and Partin — to go up 40-35. A 3 from Wolfe pulled Clay within 42-40 after three quarters.
“Ben came in and attacked, didn’t turn the ball over and he did a good job on defense, too,” Morris said. “He took the ball to the hole hard and then hit a nice bank shot — I don’t know if he meant to bank it, but it was still a good shot. Ben was a big key for us during that third quarter.”
Allen tied the game on the first possession of the fourth period, but Potter answered with a 3 and Bell would lead the rest of the way.
A tip-in by Ryan House made it a one-point game midway through the quarter and the Tigers missed on a couple of chances to take the lead. Potter found the back door of the Clay zone wide open for a layup off a bullet pass from Patterson. Then Partin rebounded a missed McDaniel 3 and found Potter all alone streaking to the basket for two more easy points and the Bobcat lead was 51-46 with 2:39 to play.
“Potter was getting chased all night and guarding the point guard, he showed that he’s in pretty good shape,” Morris said. “I thought they all looked pretty good running the floor and moving the basketball. I guess practice has helped us quite a bit.”
The Bobcats were able to beat the Tiger press after the next three Clay scores and Asher and Potter both converted three-point plays to extend Bell’s advantage to 59-52 by the 1:05 mark.
“When they pressed us late we did a real good job of moving the basketball. We didn’t hold it and we attacked in the half-court and full-court and we got a lot of layups,” Morris said. “If you press a good team, they’re going to burn you.”
One free throw from Farmer and two from House cut it to a four-point game, but Woolum found a seam in the press and was awarded a basket when Clay was called for slapping the backboard on his layup attempt. The Tigers missed three 3-pointers before Wolfe hit one at the buzzer to set the final at 61-58.
Bell County finished shooting an even 50-percent for the game (23-for-46) and went 5-for-11 on threes. Clay shot 40.4-percent (23-for-57). The Bobcats enjoyed a 31-28 rebounding edge while the Tigers won the turnover battle 9-4.
Bell County (10-8) visits Corbin on Thursday while Clay County (12-6) will host Lexington Catholic on Friday.
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|Bell Co. 61, Clay Co. 58|
CLAY CO. (12-6)
Blake Smith 7-12 2-4 16, Tyler McDaniel 3-12 0-0 7, Jake Allen 4-7 2-3 10, Wes Wolfe 6-12 0-2 14, Trey Farmer 2-8 3-4 7, Ryan House 1-6 2-2 4, Will Sexton 0-0 0-0 0, Trevor Sams 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-57 9-15 58.
BELL CO. (10-8)
Tyler Potter 8-13 3-3 21, Chase Woolum 1-5 0-1 2, Zach Partin 3-8 2-2 8, Jake Patterson 5-8 4-6 16, Josh Asher 4-8 1-1 10, Cody Ferguson 0-0 0-0 0, Ben Collett 2-3 0-0 4, Jacob Hunley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-46 10-13 61.
|3point goals: Clay 3-19 (Wolfe 2-3, McDaniel 1-5, Farmer 0-5, House 0-4, Smith 0-2); Bell 5-11 (Patterson 2-3, Potter 2-3, Asher 1-4, Collett 0-1). Rebounds: Clay 28 (Allen 9, team 5); Bell 31 (Partin 11, Patterson 6, Asher 6). Assists: Clay 9 (McDaniel 3); Bell 11 (Woolum 6). Turnovers: Clay 4, Bell 9. Total fouls: Clay 15, Bell 15. Fouled out: None.|