The Lady Panthers led 28-21 at halftime and pushed their lead into double digits early in the third quarter. But Bell seniors Katie Dixon, Melissa Partin and Tracy Laws combined to score all 18 Lady Cat points in the third as they cut the lead back to five, 43-39, entering the fourth.
Wendi Messer, who finished with 14 points, converted a three-point play and Knox Central got baskets from Medina Jackson and Jordan as they pushed their lead to 11 points midway through the fourth.
Dixon converted a three-point play of her own and freshman Jamie Shepherd knocked down a 3-pointer to get the Lady Cats back within five, 53-48, with just under three minutes to play.
Lady Panther guard Charli Sowders answered with a 3-point dagger of her own to put Knox Central back in control.
Bell wasn't able to hit another three until freshman Jenna Lefevers' trey completed the scoring and the Lady Panthers pulled out the 63-53 win.
Dixon led Bell with 16 points and Partin added 13 for the Lady Cats.
Though they couldn't end it with a win, the tournament was a successful one for Bell. They went 2-2 after entering play on a six-game losing skid.
“I'm a lot happier than I was this time last week and I think the girls are too. We're having a little more fun right now,” said coach Richard Gambrel.
“Knox Central shot the ball extremely well and they deserved to win it. Our kids played hard and if they keep it up good things will happen for us.”
Bell's Dixon and Knox Central's Messer were named to the all-tournament team.
Up next the Lady Cats (4-9) host Cumberland Tuesday before returning to Middlesboro to take on the Lady Jackets Friday.
The Lady Panthers (6-7) return to action at home against Pineville on Tuesday.
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Third Place game
Bell County 10 11 18 14 - 53
Knox Central 16 12 15 20 - 63
BELL COUNTY (53): Katie Dixon 16, Melissa Partin 13, Jamie Shepherd 6, Jenna Lefevers 5, Tracy Laws 5, Kristan Baker 4, Kacy Denny 4.
KNOX CENTRAL (63): Brittany Jordan 22, Wendi Messer 14, Terra Tuggle 8, Charli Sowders 6, Ashley Sizemore 4, Kayla Wilburn 4, Medina Jackson 4, Sierra Gibson 1.