Ray Welch | Daily News

Tyler Partin (32) backs down Middlesboro’s Josh Overbay during a previous game. On Tuesday, the senior forward tallied a team-high 25 points when Bell County defeated Harlan, 73-66.

Bobcats take control in second half, defeat Harlan

After Harlan hit 10 3-pointers in the first half to build a five-point lead over his Bell County Bobcats, coach Frankie Smith knew his team couldn’t beat the Dragons playing their game.

Bell County, led by lightning-quick junior point guard London Stephney, chose to attack the basket while the Dragons were shooting 3-pointers. The strategy paid off with an 11-0 run to open the second half and Bell stayed in control from there on the way to a 73-66 victory.

“We didn’t want to slow the game down, but every possession is so important in a game like this,” Smith said. “We did a very good job running our offense. London got to the basket and found his teammates.”

While Harlan hit 17 of 44 3-point attempts, Bell connected on two of 11. The Bobcats owned a big advantage at the line, however, hitting 21 of 35 compared to five of eight for Harlan.

Senior center Tyler Partin hit 10 of 13 shots to lead the Bobcats with 25 points. Stephney and senior guard Isaac Collett added 18 and 13 points, respectively.

Harlan was led by freshman guard Jordan Akal with 28 points. Jon Eldridge scored 14, followed by Jared Hawkins with 12 and Kilian Ledford with 11.

Harlan fell to 16-10 overall and 2-3 in district action. Bell improved to 14-10 overall and 2-4 in district play. The district schedule concludes Saturday with Harlan playing host to Middlesboro. The Dragons can clinch the second seed with a win and push Middlesboro to fourth. A Middlesboro win would force a three-way tie for the second seed. Harlan County has the top seed with a 6-0 district mark.

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Bell County 73, Harlan 66

BELL COUNTY (14-10)

London Stephney 7-9 4-10 18, Isaac Collett 3-7 5-6 13, Sean Phipps 2-3 3-3 7, Cameron Burnett 3-6 2-5 8, Tyler Partin 10-13 5-6 25, Drake Thomas 0-3 2-4 2, Dawson Woolum 0-1 0-0 0, Andrew Caldwell 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 25-43 21-34 73.

HARLAN (16-10)

Jordan Akal 9-20 3-4 27, Cade Barnes 0-4 1-2 1, Jared Hawkins 4-12 0-0 12, Kilian Ledford 4-17 0-0 12, Jon Eldridge 5-9 1-2 14, Kaleb McLendon 0-2 0-0 0, Jaedyn Gist 0-0 0-0 0, Carter Barnes 0-0 0-0 0, Caleb Adkins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-66 5-8 66.

Bell County 15 14 22 22 — 73

Harlan 12 17 16 21 — 66

3-point goals: Bell County 2-11 (Collett 2-6, Woolum 0-1, Caldwell 0-1, Thomas 0-3), Harlan 17-42 (Akal 6-15, Ledford 4-13, Hawkins 4-11, Eldridge 3-3). Rebounds: Bell County 25 (), Harlan 28 (). Turnovers: Bell County 6, Harlan 8. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: Bell County (Burnett, Thomas), Harlan (Eldridge, McLendon).