Clay holds off Barbourville’s upset bid
Published 8:30 am Thursday, March 5, 2020
CORBIN — Clay County ended a four-year drought by capturing its first 13th Region Boys Tournament win since 2016 after defeating Barbourville, 80-68, in a hard-fought battle during Wednesday’s first round action.
The 12-point win advances Glenn Gray’s squad to Saturday’s semifinal against Harlan County.
The Black Bears won their first-round matchup with Corbin on Wednesday, 74-58.
The two teams will tip off at 1 p.m.
Senior guard Jakob Curry led Clay County with 24 points while Connor Robinson added 19. Connor Farmer also finished in double figures, scoring 14.
Junior guard Matthew Gray led Barbourville with a 24-point scoring effort while senior Shawn Vaughn added 12 points.
Barbourville surprised Clay County early in the first quarter and took a 19-9 lead at the 2:23 mark after a 3-pointer by Gray.
Clay County began to rally thanks to a 3-pointer by Robinson that cut his team’s deficit to 21-15 at the end of the period.
Curry had the hot-hand in the second quarter and knocked down consecutive 3-pointers to give Clay County a 27-23 advantage with 4:41 left in the first half.
Gray’s Tigers finished with a 15-5 run and took a commanding 42-28 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Curry led Clay County with 18 points while hitting 4-of-6 3-point attempts during the first 16 minutes. Robinson and Connor Farmer each scored seven points apiece while Shawn Vaughn led Barbourville with eight points.
Clay County hit 11-of-23 shot attempts while Barbourville was 10-of-21.
Barbourville continued to hang around during the third quarter even after seeing Clay County’s Evan Langdon score his team’s first six points.
A basket by Farmer combined with a layup by Raven Abner pushed Clay County’s advantage to 55-40 midway through the third quarter, but Barbourville managed to cut its deficit to 57-44 going into the fourth quarter.
Cody Messer’s Tigers pulled to within two points (59-57) after Gray’s basket at the 5:38 mark but Robinson answered for Clay County with two consecutive baskets to give his team some breathing room at 66-59.
Robinson added a couple of more baskets during the final three minutes to help secure the win.
Clay County 80, Barbourville 68
Barbourville (68) — Vaughn 12, Mills 3, Martin 9, Collins 8, Gray 24, Warren 3, Moore 2, Bingham 7.
Clay County (80) — Langdon 9, Curry 24, Robinson 19, C. Farmer 14, Begley 4, Abner 6, T. Farmer 4.
Barbourville 21 7 16 24 — 68
Clay County 15 27 15 23 — 80