(MANCHESTER, Ky.) – In a shocking turn of events, the Clay County Tigers (16-8) dropped their first home loss this season in a 78-73 stunner to Bell County. Jacob Curry’s team high 28-points almost lifted the Tigers to victory, but failure to shut down Bell’s London Stephney (14pts), Dawson Woolum (20pts) and Cameron Burnett (17pts) ultimately led to Clay’s demise.
A horrid start to the game, Bell would jump ahead on a 14-0 run against the Tigers. Evan Langdon (18pts) would finally break the ice for Clay County, scoring after being fouled to convert for three with 3:01 in the first quarter. The damage was already done though, as Bell had built a sustainable lead that they would hold for the entirety of the contest. The Bobcats would go into the 2nd quarter up 20-9 over the Tigers.
Clay would finally show signs of a pulse in the 2nd quarter, coming as close as nine cutting the Bobcat lead 29-20 as Connor Farmer would drill a three with 2:57 to go before halftime. Bell would continue to inch away, responding to each Tiger basket. Stephney and Jacob Curry would go back and forth, bucket for bucket till halftime. Bell would lead 37-26 at the break.
The Tigers were once again without the services of Connor Robinson (high ankle sprain) whose absence is greatly missed. Robinson, a perennial scorer, gives the Tigers savvy leadership and a strong rebounding presence. Clay would come out hot after the half though, as Langdon, Curry, and Raven Abner (10pts) would dice into the Bell lead yet again. The Tigers would briefly go on an eight-point run, holding Bell scoreless from the 6:00 mark till 1:15 in the 3rd.
Bell had no give in what was an intense fourth quarter. Emotions began to run high for both teams, as frustrations with physical play began to boil over, along with a few questionable calls/missed calls. The Tigers would play their best basketball in the last three minutes. However, the Bobcats lead was too far out of reach. Curry, Langdon, Abner, and Connor Farmer (11pts) gave their best effort in the scoring column to keep things tight. Clay would come within three at 74-71, but Bell would sink free throws to remain perfect at the line to ice the win.
Jacob Curry – 28pts; Evan Langdon – 18pts; Connor Farmer – 11pts; Raven Abner – 10pts; Jakob Begley – 4pts; Tate Farmer – 2pts.