By Kyle Lovern
GOODY, Ky. – For the second consecutive game, the Belfry Pirates lost a last second heartbreaker, falling to 60th District Rival Pike County Central (PCC) 61-59 Thursday night at the BHS gym.
This past Saturday the Pirates of first year head coach Mark Thompson lost on a last second shot to local rival Mingo Central in the Hatfield-McCoy Shootout played at the Williamson Fieldhouse.
Even though it was extremely cold outside, the young Pirates started out the game hot. They jumped out to a 15-9 first quarter lead and led 29-19 at the half.
Teddy Smith led PCC with 6 points in the first half, while Dawson Isom flipped in 10 for Belfry and big freshman Cole Bentley added 8.
In the third quarter the Hawks started chipping away at the lead. They cut the margin to 41-38 with 1:32 left in the period.
BHS freshman point guard Austin Woolum sliced through the lane to score a layup to stop the Pike Central run and give BHS a 43-38 lead. Soon after that basket Woolum picked up his 4th foul and had to leave the floor.
Pike Central controlled the boards in the third quarter, which enabled them to cut into the Belfry lead.
After another PCC basket, Belfry’s Nathan Copley fired in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to increase his team’s lead to 46-40.
The Hawks kept battling back and cut the lead to 46-45 on a 3-pointer by Hunter Clark.
Soon after that, Belfry’s other point guard, freshman Cameron Catron, picked up his 4th foul with 5:50 left in the 4th quarter and coach Thompson had to substitute again.
On Pike Central’s next possession, Andrew Fields completed a 3-point play the old-fashioned way to give the Hawks their first lead at 50-49.
PCC increased their lead to 57-50 before Belfry’s Garrett Fannin hit a shot to cut the lead to five.
But, Belfry had no answer for 6’7” Ethan Blackburn down low as he gave PCC a 59-52 advantage with a short jumper from the block.
Belfry didn’t quit as Copley fired in another 3-pointer to cut the lead to 59-55.
On the Hawk’s next possession, Woolum stole the ball and BHS called a quick timeout with 45 seconds left in the game.
Belfry worked the ball down low to Bentley who hit another left-handed hook shot to cut the PCC lead to two.
On Pike Central’s next possession, Belfry’s Isom, one of the team’s leading scorers, fouled out with 30 ticks left on the game clock.
The Pirate’s then fouled PCC’s Alex Holbrook to buy some time. He missed both foul shots, which gave Belfry another chance to tie the game.
Woolum had a nice assist under the basket to Bentley who tied the game at 59-59 with just seconds left.
However, Pike Central guard Tyler Burnett got the ball and drove the length of the floor banking in a layup as time expired and the Hawks pulled out a tough road win at Belfry 61-59.
Pike Central outscored Belfry 42-30 in the second half.
“This is tough for my young guys,” Belfry’s Thompson said after the game. “The last two games were kind of similar as to the way they played out.”
“We had a bad third quarter,” he added. “We were down seven and came back and tied it. I think that says a lot for our young team. We just have to figure out how to finish it.”
“We just have to do a better job at staying in front of the ball,” Thompson said. “They are worried they are going to foul. We are still not guarding the way that we can.”
Belfry pressed for most of the game.
“They are a solid team and I don’t think they expected this kind of game from us,” Thompson added. “I thought we took them out of their rhythm in the first half. This team is fun to coach and they play hard. They are starting to learn. We just need a little more confidence.”
Belfry (4-9) did not have much time to rest as they were scheduled to travel to Tug Valley for a rematch with the Panthers on Friday night.
Bentley led Belfry with 17 points, while Isom added 15, and Fannin and Copley had 11 points apiece for a balanced Pirates attack.
Burnett led PCC with 17 points, while Blackburn finished with 12. Fields and Smith added 9 each and Braxton Tibbs chipped in 7 for the Hawks.
The Hawks were 15-30 at the foul line for 50 percent, while Belfry was 9-13 or 69 percent.
PCC improved to 9-5 on the season.
Score by quarters:
PCC (9-5) – 9 10 21 21 – 61
BHS (4-9) – 15 14 17 13 – 59
Pike Central (61) – Blackburn 12, Fields 9, Smith 9, Holbrook 0, Burnett 17, Tibbs 7, Conn 1, Turnmire 0 and Clark 6.
Belfry (59) - Fannin 11, Price 0, Woolum 2, Bentley17, Isom 15, Catron 3, Copley 11, Fletcher 0 and Carr 0.
(Kyle Lovern is the Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-235-4242, ext. 33 or Twitter @KyleLovern)