Congratulations are in order for the Pineville Elementary School 3rd and 4th-grade boys basketball team. The 2020-21 team picked up where last season’s team left off and duplicated that team’s effort by going undefeated.
In the season and conference play opener, Harlan came to town and left with a 47-8 loss. Next up for PES was a trip to Williamsburg for another conference game; the Lions came back to Pineville with a 74-0 WIN! Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, nine games ended up being canceled. After getting back into action, the team ran the table the rest of the way, defeating Kentucky Basketball Elite from London 17-15, Harlan 26-13, Central Elementary from Barbourville 50-7 and Jesse D. Lay from Barbourville 28-24.
Then they finished on an even higher note by winning the Blue & Gold Round Ball Classic Tournament. In that tournament PES defeated Central Elementary 38-3 in the first round. In the semi-final round, PES defeated G.R. Hampton 33-22. This set the stage where Pineville would square off against Lay Elementary in the championship game. That game was moved from Central Elementary in Barbourville, to Central Christian Academy in Gray, KY. The players and their families arrived at the gym and shortly after the stands filled ready for the much anticipated event. The National Anthem was played and the player introductions were completed, then it was time for the tip!
Lay put the first points on the board taking a 2-0 lead. Braxton Ferguson with an offensive rebound and putback tied the score at two. Lay came back with another basket. Then it was Ferguson off a feed from point guard Eli McDermott with two more to tie it again at four.
Lay once again took the lead six to four, but that would be the last time Lay lead in the contest. Pineville tied the score on a McDermott basket followed by another basket from Ferguson. The 1st quarter ended with Pineville leading 8-6.
The Lions tightened up on defense and controlled the glass and took a 14-10 lead into the locker room after John Hayes and Brody Fugate each hit a free-throw and Ferguson added four more points in the period.
The second half proved to be one of dominance for the Mountain Lions. Lay scored five points the entire second half that includes ZERO in the fourth quarter. On the other side of the ledger, Pineville executed on offense and continued to completely dominate the back boards.
This allowed Pineville behind strong play from John Hayes locking down the right side wing defensively and converting a driving layup and sinking a free-throw. Brody Fugate controlled his area on defense blocking a shot and did an outstanding job on the glass. Fugate went two for three from the stripe and added two buckets. Hunter Johnson gave up no direct points in his zone on defense and pulled down a couple of timely rebounds and added a steal.
Braxton Ferguson did work in the paint all game long especially in the second half blocking shots, rebounding, and being a disruptor around the basket. He also added six more points to the Mountain Lion total and averaged a double double for the tournament. Eli McDermott disrupted the Lay offense the entire afternoon and finished with double-digit assists along with knocking down five of six free-throws. McDermott added another basket of his own to complete a 20 to 5 second-half score and make the final talley Pineville 34, Lay 15.
All the individual contributions along with an enthusiastic and very supportive bench, gave the Lions a collective Championship! Similar to last year’s team, defense was the calling card for Pineville all season long. The Mountain Lions scored 347 points on the season for an average of 38.5 points per game, while ONLY allowing 107 points for an average of 11.8 points per game. Out scoring the opponents by 240 points and an average margin of victory by 26.7 points per game. CONGRATULATIONS ON A JOB WELL DONE !!!