Saturday, December, 9th, 2017- Knott County Central High School
David Leveridge- Bluegrass Sports Nation- High School Basketball
Girls Bracket Harlan County Lady Black Bears defeat South Laurel Lady Cardinals 75-64. Boys Bracket Knox County Central Panthers defeat Floyd County Central Jaguars 78-53
Girls Championship game: Harlan County Lady Black Bears vs South Laurel Lady Cardinals
The WYMT Mountain Classic concluded tonight with four games. Two Consolation games were played competing for third place and a trophy, in each the Girls and Boys Brackets. In the Girls Championship two 13th Regional foes Harlan County Lady Black Bears and the South Laurel Lady Cardinals battled it out for the girls championship. The game has both the anticipation and hype of a Regional Basketball Championship. Both teams brought a large crowd and the game lived up to the hype. Each team had well known athletes that will play Basketball at the next level and two of the players are considered Miss Basketball Candidates. Harlan County has current UK commit Blaire Green #32 and South Laurel featured Ally Collet #3.
South Laurel and Harlan County both come out focused and has a great shooting first quarter. The game was competitive and South Laurel takes a six- point lead at the end of the first quarter. South Laurel leads 17-11 at the end of the first quarter. The teams would continue to battle with neither team gave an inch competing with every ounce of energy in them. Harlan County closes the gap but still trails by two points at the half. South Laurel 32- Harlan County 30.
In the second half Blaire Green puts the team on her back and takes over the game. Green took advantage of her size and athletic ability routinely scoring over the smaller defenders. Harlan County Comes out of the break hot and goes on a nine and zero run. South Laurel Continues to compete but the size and athleticism of the Quicker Harlan County team has them struggling to score the ball. Harlan County Takes a seven- point lead at the end of the third quarter. Harlan County 48- South Laurel 41. Harlan County has the ball to start the fourth quarter, having a comfortable lead the Black Bears are in no hurry to score. The Lady Bears hold the ball and make South Laurel foul to stop the clock. South Laurel continues to compete and scores several times in the quarters, but Harlan would counter on the other end. Harlan County holds on, and wins the WYMT Mountain Classic Girls Bracket, defeating South Laurel 75-64.
Harlan County Lady Black Bears repeat as tournament Champions. Harlan County defeated North Laurel 75-54 in January of this year to capture the schools first Mountain Classic Championship. Blaire Green of Harlan County is the MVP of the Tournament scoring thirty- eight points.
Boys Championship game: Knox County Central Panthers vs Floyd County Central Jaguars.
The Boys championship of the Mountain Classic featured two teams that have never won the tournament. Knox County Central Panthers from the 13th Region battled newly established Floyd County Central Jaguars from the 15th Region. Floyd Central is currently 2-0 in the Mountain Classic entering tonight’s contest with wins over Leslie County and Clay County. Floyd Central scrapped by with one- point victory over Leslie County 60-59 on Tuesday, Decmeber 5th, 2017, and an eight- point victory over Clay County 56-48 on December, 8th, 2017. Knox County Central has been dominant since the first game cruising to easy victories. In the opening game of the Classic Knox has a rout over Wolfe County defeating the Wolves by thirty- eight points. Knox Central 90- Wolfe County 52. In the Second game Knox played the Knott County Central Patriots on Knott’s home Court and defeated a solid Patriot team by seventeen points. Knox County Central 74- Knott County Central 57. For those of you that hasn’t seen the Panthers Play I would recommend trying to catch a game at some point this season. Knox County is athletic, fun to watch with good shooters, a tenacious defense, and a deep bench. Knox County Central is the perceived favorite to win the Mountain Classic. 13th Region co- favorite with Corbin Red hounds and Ranked in the top twenty- five in the state, also ranked in the WYMT coverage area Mountain top 10.
Knox County Central starts the game on 8-0 run. Knox County’s #12 Nick Martin opens the scoring in the quarter scoring two points with 7:12 remaining in the quarter. Knox frustrates Floyd Central with the full court trapping press, forcing turnovers and baskets in transition. Floyd Central gets on the board with 5:02 remaining in the quarter with the score Knox 8- Floyd Central 2. Knox Central has another run and increases the lead to fourteen points to close the quarter. At the end of the first quarter Knox County Central leads 21- 7 over Floyd Central.
Floyd County Central comes out to open the quarter playing hard, and scored the basketball more in the second quarter. The athleticism of Knox is to much to overcome and the lead grows to twenty points from the play of #12 Nick Martin and #11 Markelle Turner gives the Panthers the edge. On the opening possession of the quarter Knox County Central scores a three- point basket. The lead grows to seventeen points, Knox 24- Floyd Central 7. Knox continues to score the ball and has a twenty- one- point lead with 6:06 remaining in the quarter. Knox Central 28- Floyd Central 7. Floyd Central ‘s #23 Brady Conn gets the Jags on the scoreboard scoring two points on a solid post move. Floyd County Central answers the Knox County run, with a run off its own and reduced the large deficit. Floyd Central cuts the lead to seventeen points as #1 J.R. Tackett scores on a three- point basket. Floyd Central scores two points as time expires in the half. At intermission Knox County Central leads 41- 25 over Floyd Central.
Floyd Central competes hard in the quarter and attempts to slow down the very Quick Knox team and #11 Turner from taking over like he did in the first half. The quarter gets heated with players diving on the floor for loose balls and Floyd County Central rallies to cut the deficit. Knox Central #22 Tay Turner opens the scoring in the third quarter with a two- point basket. Knox leads by 18 points 43- 25 with 7:30 remaining in the quarter. Floyd Central starts to pound the ball into Center #23 Brady Conn and Conn contributes with several unanswered baskets. Through Conn’s play Floyd Central cuts the deficit from eighteen points to twelve points in two and a half minutes. Knox Central 43- Floyd Central 31. The Jags also turn up the defensive intensity being physical with the speedy #11 Turner of Knox Central. Floyd Central does a good job of slowing down the quick point guard and eliminates the Panthers from getting into transition. Knox senses the game is starting to slip away, and Floyd Central has the momentum. A quick time out is called and the Panthers settle down. Knox Central works the inside game and #12 Nick Martin scores several times to increase the lead back to seventeen points. At the end of the third Quarter Knox Central leads 56- 39 over Floyd County Central.
Knox Central survives a strong rally from Floyd County Central in the third quarter, and puts the game out of reach in the fourth quarter with the play from #12 Nick Martin and #11 Markelle Turner. Martin opens the scoring for Knox Central and the lead grows to nineteen points with 7:42 remaining in the game. Knox Central 58- Floyd Central 39. Floyd Central scores on the next possession, but Knox central counter on the next play with a layup in transition. Knox Central defense starts to force turnovers and scores with transition plays and uncontested layups. Knox Central lead continues to build grows to twenty- three points in the closing minutes of the quarter. Knox Central #11 Turner puts an exclamation point on the game finishing with a one hand slam. Knox Central defeats the Floyd County Central Jaguars by twenty- five points. Knox Central 78- Floyd County Central 53.
Knox Central captures the 2017 WYMT Mountain Basketball Classic. The victory tonight is the Panthers first ever Championship in school history and the first time being in the Championship game since 1989. Markelle Turner #11 is the Tournament MVP finishing with 24 points. Floyd Central finishes as the runner up in the tournament, this is Floyd Central’s first time competing in the Classic as the school was only established this year. Good luck to all the teams that have competed in the 2017 WYMT Mountain Basketball Classic.