Evarts fell to 0-2 with a 62-47 loss Tuesday to visiting Pineville. The Mountain Lions, ranked fifth in the region in the preseason, jumped out to a 20-8 lead after one quarter and held off several comeback attempts.
“Basically, Evarts outhustled us. They flat got after it and I give credit to them for fighting the whole way,” Pineville coach J.D. Strange said.
“We had a chance to put them away in the first half, and they made a run at it there at the end. They played hard.”
The Wildcats lost by 31 to Barbourville in their season opener last week.
“The difference in this game and the Barbourville game was that we played a lot better,” Evarts coach Jerry Ford said. “I'm really proud of the effort. We actually blocked out and went to the boards.”
James David Strange, a 5-11 sophomore guard, led Pineville (2-0) with 22 points and five assists. Dustin Day, a 6-6 junior center, had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
“I've got a lot of respect for Pineville. They've got a real good coach and a real good team,” said Ford. “They're picked by the coaches in the region to win the All ‘A.'”
Senior guard James Ledford paced the Wildcats with 20 points. Jarrod Fields, also a senior guard, contributed 16 points.
Day scored eight points and Jared Jeffrey and Dustin Warren each hit 3-pointers as the Lions took a 12-point lead after one quarter. Pineville hit eight of 13 shots from the field in the period while the Wildcats missed nine of 13.
The Mountain Lions opened the second quarter by outscoring Evarts 12-4. Fields and Travis Helton each nailed a 3-pointer and Fields and Ledford added layups as the Wildcats cut the deficit to 35-22.
A pair of putbacks by Day and a layup by Strange pushed the lead to 41-22 to open the second half. Pineville maintained an 18-point lead, 46-28, entering the final quarter.
Strange hit two trays and added a basket as Pineville took a 54-30 lead with 5:37 to play. Evarts fought back when Ledford nailed three 3-pointers and the Wildcats closed the game with a 17-8 spurt.
“The hustle was there, and if we hustle and continue to work hard and play together, we'll be OK,” added Ford.
“It was a good win. The fact we got it on the road and it being the first one of the year, it's always good,” said Strange. “We just got outhustled and if I can get my kids that way, I'd feel a whole lot better.”
Pineville (2-0) travels to Cawood on Friday. Evarts will play host to Red Bird on Thursday.