BARBOURVILLE —It was a night of missed opportunities for the Pineville Mountain Lions. They missed several free throws, had a pair of costly turnovers in the fourth quarter and never got a last-second shot to tie the game off as Barbourville held on for a 51-48 win in the district opener for both teams.
“I thought Barbourville out-hustled us, they took it too us, got in our grill and made us like it,” said Pineville coach J.D. Strange.
Devon Mills scored 21 points to lead the Tigers while Zach Strong added 12 and Tanner Moore eight in the victory.
Pineville was led by senior forward Byron David Asher’s 17 points and sophomore Cody Collett added 14.
Barbourville led 13-9 after one quarter and 24-18 at the half. But the Lions came roaring back in the third quarter. Senior center John Simpson, who sat for much of the first 16 minutes after picking up two fouls, scored his first five points of the game in the third. Collett hit two 3-pointers and a free throw and Asher scored five straight point to put the Lions up 35-32.
“We started playing there at the end, but it was a little bit too late,” Strange added. “We got into some foul trouble, but we’ve got to learn to play above that.”
Strong hit one 3-pointer to tie the game just before the end of the third quarter, then put the Tigers ahead to stay with another long range bomb on the opening possession of the fourth. Mills came away with a steal and layup to push the lead to 40-35. Alexander Phelps answered an Asher basket with a 3-pointer of his own and Barbourville’s lead was 43-37 with 6:21 to play.
It was 47-40 when Collett knocked down a 3-pointer with just under 3:00 left and Asher was fouled while battling for position while the shot was in the air. He missed the front end of the bonus and a Jason Mills free throw put the lead back to five.
Simpson scored inside for the Lions to make it 48-45 at the 2:15 mark, but Barbourville was able to run over a minute off the clock as the Lions still had two fouls to give.
Moore hit one free throw with 53.4 seconds on the clock, but the Lions turned the ball over when Jared Philpot stumbled with the ball on the next possession.
Devon Mills hit both ends of the bonus at the 39.4 second mark to stretch the lead to 51-45. Collett hit a 3-pointer with 15 seconds to play, but had to use his fifth foul on Phipps to stop the clock. Phipps missed the front end of the bonus and Asher came away with the rebound.
“The kids played hard. Cody made some key shots for us but we had to lose him there at the end. At least he recognized that we had to foul in that situation,” said Strange.
The Lions called a time out with 7.2 seconds to play to set up their final possession, but Mills pressured Philpot and his pass to Isaac Longworth came too late for him to get off a final shot and the Tigers held on.
“Missed opportunities, a lot of them. Free throws missed at crucial times, not executing plays, not knowing what we’re running. Just a lot of things this time of year you get frustrated about, but you know that over time they will get better,” Strange said. “We’ll have to bounce back quick, we’ve got a big one coming up Friday.”
Both teams return to action on Friday with Pineville (4-3, 0-1) visiting Middlesboro while Barbourville (3-2, 1-0) hosts Williamsburg.
— — —
Pineville………..9….9…17…13 — 48
Barbourville…13…11…11…16 — 51
PINEVILLE (48): Byron David Asher 17, Cody Collett 14, Jacob Skinner 8, John Simpson 7, Jared Philpot 2, Connor Ford 0, Isaac Longworth 0, Dalton Ledbetter 0.
BARBOURVILLE (51): Devon Mills 21, Zach Strong 12, Tanner Moore 8, Jason Mills 7, Alexander Phipps 3, Kevin Engle 0, Jacob Rose 0.