By Chris Parsons / Sports Editor
BARBOURVILLE — His Tigers may have barely done enough to get past Harlan in the opening round of the 13th Region All ‘A’ Classic Monday, but Barbourville head coach Dinky Phipps said he was happy to move on to the second round.
A basket by the Tigers’ Jason Mills with 3.6 to play in the game put the host team on top, 55-53. A last-second three-point attempt by Harlan’s Leighton Piper was off the mark, but Phipps admitted the shot looked good from where he stood as time expired.
“We didn’t play very well tonight, but I’ll take it and I’m tickled to be able to play Thursday night,” Phipps said. “They got an awful good look at that last shot and I guess that kid just disappeared because our guys lost him.
“It looked like it was going in and to be honest, I would have probably went crazy in the locker room if it had,” he added. “We had our assignments on that last play, but somehow they got a look and we were lucky that he missed because obviously, that would have beat us.”
The game was all Harlan in the early stages as neither team shot particularly well from the field in the first half. Barbourville connected on just 2-of-11 shot attempts in the first quarter and trailed 12-4 after the first eight minutes.
The Tigers were able to trim the gap by a point in the second quarter, using a 16-15 effort to make the score 27-20 at the break.
Phipps’ squad came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter using a 16-6 run to grab its first lead of the game (36-33) with just over two minutes to play in the period.
Barbourville posted its best effort of the night in the third quarter, doubling the team’s first half scoring total with 21 points in the quarter. The outburst gave the Tigers a 41-39 lead heading in to the final period of play.
Barbourville stretched the lead to six points to start the fourth quarter, but the Green Dragons tied things up at 45 apiece with a 6-0 run with 2:48 to play in the game.
Barbourville freshman Wade Liford scored four straight points for the Tigers, pushing the lead to 52-47, but the Green Dragons answered with a 4-0 run of their own, cutting the deficit to 52-51.
After a free throw by Mills gave the Tigers a 53-51 lead, Harlan’s Tyler Miller tied things up at 53 with :25 to play in the game. Mills found the basket with 3.6 to play to put the Tigers up, 55-53, followed by the missed three by Piper to end the game.
Barbourville 55, Harlan 53
Harlan 12 15 12 14 – 53
Barbourville 4 16 21 14 – 55
Harlan (53) – Hogue 13, Parks 11, Miller 10, Piper 7, Osborne 5, Simpson 3, Dupar 2, Noah 2.
Barbourville (55) – Phipps 13, Mills 10, Liford 10, Eldridge 8, Moore 6, Perry 6, Rose 2.
Tigers squeak past Harlan in first round of all 'a' tournament
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