Whitley County used a big second quarter to overtake the Middlesboro Yellow Jackets and held on late for a 74-71 win to spoil Senior Night and homecoming at MHS.
The Jackets jumped out to an eight point lead in the first quarter, but the Colonels used a 12-0 run to go ahead. Whitley led by as many as 16 points in the third quarter but Middlesboro kept coming back and even had a shot to tie it at the buzzer before the Colonels held on to win by three.
“This is a good Whitley County team, they shoot the ball very well and that makes them a tough match-up for us,” MHS coach Russell Thompson said. “I think we got a little distracted there close to halftime with it being homecoming and everything. Out of 32 minutes I think we played for about 25. It was just enough to cost us the game when we got a little sloppy with the ball in the second quarter. We took some shots we probably shouldn’t have, they weren’t falling and we got a little lackadaisical on defense.”
Seniors Austin Poindexter and Donnie Foister scored 21 points each to lead the Jackets with Foister adding eight assists.
“They did a good job and Brandon Hale hit a some big shots late for us. Major Edwards had eight points and eight rebounds,” Thompson said. “I’ve been proud of them all year and I was proud of their effort (Tuesday) night.”
Before the game the Jackets honored all six of their seniors: Tyshon Kincaide, Tyler Prater, Justin Miracle, Abhishek Singh and 1,000-point scorers Foister and Poindexter.
“We’ve got a great group of seniors. Most of them, other than Donnie and Austin, didn’t have much experience before this season but they’ve kept coming in and working hard. They’ve all accepted their roles and come together as a team,” Thompson said. “At times they’ve had to sacrifice for what I feel is best for the team and it shows a lot about their character. That’s why I believe in those guys and they believe in each other.
“Life’s going to be tough sometimes and I feel like these are the types of kids that are going to be able to fight through it and come through the other side looking at success. Tyshon Kincaide, Justin Miracle, Abhishek Singh and Tyler Prater — along with Donnie Foister and Austin Poinexter — have been leaders on this team. I feel like they’ve taken us in the right direction.”
Whitley County (14-11) was scheduled to host Pineville on Friday.
Middlesboro (6-17) has had their upcoming schedule switched around due to the recent bad weather. Middlesboro will now play at Harlan on Saturday with the varsity game set for 7:30 p.m. The Jackets will turn around and host the Green Dragons on Sunday with the varsity game set for 3:30 p.m.
Middlesboro is 1-3 in 52nd District games while Harlan was 0-3 going into Friday’s game at Bell County. The weekend games will determine the number three and four seeds for the district tournament.