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Knott Central eliminates Jackets in All ‘A’ tourney

After defeating Red Bird, Lynn Camp and Harlan to represent the 13th region in the All “A” State Tournament, Middlesboro was defeated by Knott County Central, 57-45, on Thursday afternoon at the McBrayer Arena in Richmond. Knott County Central extends their win streak to 10 with the victory over the Yellow Jackets.

Khalil Slone led the way for the Patriots with 16 points, leading all scorers. Josh McGuire added 13 points and eight boards to assist the winning Patriot effort.

Scotty Overbay led Middlesboro in scoring with 12. Mykel Griffin added eight points and six rebounds, and Christian Hubbard added eight points and three rebounds.

Knott Central’s offense was in attack mode Thursday afternoon. The Patriots went to the rim all game and drew 22 total fouls on Middlesboro. Going 27-of-33 from the free-throw line, including 15-of-19 in the fourth quarter, the separation in the game was the charity stripe.

Middlesboro shot a good percentage from the free-throw line at 72.2 percent, but they only attempted 18 free throws all game.

Leading 21-15 at halftime, Knott Central couldn’t put Middlesboro away. The Yellow Jackets fought to within four points of the Patriots early in the fourth quarter, with the score sitting at 36-32. The Patriots went on a 9-0 run and began to pull away from the Yellow Jackets.

Knott County Central maintained offensive consistency throughout the rest of the fourth quarter to post a 12-point victory.

Neither team turned the ball over much, with Knott County Central turning it over seven times to Middlesboro’s six. Knott County also held a slight edge in rebounding 32-30.

“Knott County Central is a really good team,” said Middlesboro coach Lewis Morris. “They’re very well coached, they play hard and they’re probably the best team in the 14th region. I thought we played good today, I was proud of our effort.

“We didn’t turn the ball over much, (and) we didn’t shoot bad. We just had a few shots that didn’t fall at big points in the game. That happens sometimes. They just chained together a run or two at the right times and did what they needed to get the win. I’m still happy with the way we played and think we can build from this. It was a good experience for the team.”

Middlesboro will be in action at South Laurel on Saturday. Knott County Central moves on to play Walton-Verona in the second round of the All “A” State Tournament.

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Middlesboro (12-8) (45) — Scotty Overbay 12, Mykel Griffin 8, Christian Hubbard 8, Jabari Kyle 7, Josh Overbay 6, Trey Brock 4.

Knott County Central (15-5) (57) — Khalil Slone 16, Josh McGuire 13, Colby Napier 10, Branson Couch 7, Kent Damron 6, Darron Whitakert 3, Gannon Couch 2.