LONDON —The Pineville Mountain Lions got 27 points from senior center John Simpson as they built a big lead and held on late for a 68-58 win over Estill County in the opening game of the Nissan Legacy Shootout at North Laurel Thursday.
“I thought our kids played hard for the most part, I thought we executed offensively,” said Pineville coach J.D. Strange. “We were able to get up on them by 19 points, but to Estill’s credit the came back and cut it to eight late. We got out of sync a little bit, but I thought we finished strong. It was a good win for us.”
Colby Baber scored 21 points for the Engineers, including nine in the first quarter on three 3-pointers. Mountain Lion senior Seth Jeffrey came off the bench to knock down a pair of 3s of his own and Pineville built an 18-13 lead after one quarter.
Simpson scored seven in the second period and Cody Collett also scored seven on four free throws and a 3-pointer. Baber put in seven more for Estill, but aside from that the Engineers were held to just a basket from Brandon Morris.
Mountain Lions senior Byron David Asher added four points and by halftime the lead had grown to 36-22.
“Estill County is a very scrappy basketball team and they’ve got a very good player inside in (Brandon) Morris. I thought he did a very good job defensively,” Strange added. “The Baber kid scored 16 of their first 22 and really gave us problems.”
The Lions went to Simpson early and often in the third quarter as they continued to pull away. Simpson scored ten in the third quarter as the lead grew to 19 points.
Trenton Jenkins scored all four of his points in the third period for Estill and they closed the gap to 53-37 after three.
Morris scored eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter and Josh Baber came off the bench to hit a pair of 3-pointers as the Engineers cut the lead down to eight.
But Simpson scored six more points, Jeffrey added five, Jacob Skinner hit a basket and Collett hit a pair of big free throws as Pineville went on to win it by 10.
“We got contributions from everybody and we got to play nine kids effectively, even in the first half. It was valuable experience for us,” Strange said. “This time of year with the kids out of school and playing these tournaments you have to deal with a lot of different things. But I thought our kids handled it well and we’ll have to come back and do the same thing tomorrow against Corbin. That should be a nice challenge for us.”
Pineville (6-4) plays Corbin at 5:30 p.m. today while Estill County (4-5) takes on Bell County at 2:30 p.m. as the tournament continues.
— — —
Estill Co….13….9…15…21 — 58
Pineville…18…18…17…15 — 68
ESTILL COUNTY (58): Colby Baber 21, Brandon Morris 14, Trevor Jenkins 6, Josh Baber 6, Trenton Jenkins 4, Kris Dennis 4, Caleb Click 3, Chase Alexander 0, Randy King 0.
PINEVILLE (68): John Simpson 27, Seth Jeffrey 11, Byron David Asher 9, Cody Collett 9, Jacob Skinner 4, Connor Ford 4, Jared Philpot 2, Isaac Longworth 2, Dalton Ledbetter 0.