Bell County wins rivalry game over Middlesboro

Four days after posting a 15-point loss to regional foe Knox Central, Bell County (8-7) defeated rival Middlesboro (8-6) 45-40 at Bell County High School on Tuesday night.

“It was a hard-fought game,” said Bell County coach Frankie Smith. “Both teams competed for every possession in every second of the game. We are very fortunate that we came out with a win.”

Freshman forward Cameron Burnett led Bell County with 13 points, and senior forward Tyler Partin added 12 points.

The Jackets were led by junior guard Jabari Kyle with 12 and senior center Mykel Griffin with 9.

Both teams’ offenses began the game playing sluggishly. Kyle scored all five of Middlesboro’s first quarter points. Bell County’s first quarter offense was more balanced, with five different players — Partin, Isaac Collett, London Stephney, Sean Phipps and Burnett — contributing, outscoring the Jackets 9-5.

In the second quarter, Middlesboro’s offense became more balanced. Christian Hubbard, Trey Brock, Kyle, Scott Overbay and Andrew Padgett all helped Middlesboro outscore the Bobcats 9-7, with Bell County holding onto a two-point lead at halftime, 16-14.

In the third quarter, Partin and Burnett scored six points each for the Bobcats, including two big 3-pointers from Burnett. The Bobcats outscored the Jackets 12-6 in the third to take their largest lead of the game at 28-20.

Bell County attempted 21 free throws in the final quarter, but converted only 11 of them. The two teams combined for 37 points in the final quarter, with Middlesboro outscoring Bell County 20-17.

However, at the final buzzer it was Bell County securing the victory.

“Middlesboro is a very very good basketball team, and it’s going to be crazy around here when it comes time for the district tournament,” Smith said.

Bell County will be in action against Harlan County on Jan. 15 at home. Middlesboro will take on Red Bird on Jan. 12 at home.

Bell County (45) — Cameron Burnett 13, Tyler Partin 12, London Stephney 8, Sean Phipps 6,

Antonio Zachery 4, Isaac Collet 2.

Middlesboro (8-6) (40) — Jabari Kyle 12, Mykel Griffin 9, Christian Hubbard 7, Trey Brock 5, Scott Overbay 3, Andrew Padgett 2, T.J. Patterson 2.