By Les Dixon
For the Times-Tribune
BARBOURVILLE — For a half, the Oneida Baptist Mountaineers were in prime position to pull off an upset against host Barbourville during Thursday's 13th Region All 'A' Classic Tournament's semifinals.
David Robinson's squad was only down by five (29-24) at halftime before the Barbourville trio of Jason Mills, Alexander Phipps and Brent Perry caught fire from the floor. The scoring outburst helped the Tigers outscore Oneida Baptist 52-24 in the game's final 16 minutes en route to an easy, 81-48, victory.
“We didn't show up in the second half,” Oneida Baptist's Robinson said. “We just didn't play well and maybe it's my fault. I believe I over-coached a bit during halftime, and in the end it hurt us.
“I changed some things up and it messed us up,” he added. “I just over-coached. I should have stayed with the game plan. Barbourville is a very good team, and they shot the ball well.”
After struggling to pull away in the first half, Dinky Phipps' squad dominated third quarter action, using a 28-10 run to pull away from the Mountaineers.
Mills scored 10 of his game-high 24 points during the period while Perry scored the Tigers' first seven points to begin the second half, and finished the game with 16 points.
Mills' dominance in the paint allowed Phipps to score eight of his 19 points during the period, including two of his five made three-pointers.
“We didn't attack the basket in the first half and it showed,” Dinky Phipps said. “We played them just a week ago, and I was afraid our guys would think they could just go out there and play. They (Oneida Baptist) have a good team, and I told them we needed to settle down.
“We began to attack the basket in the second half after making some adjustments,” he added. “When you attack the basket and score, it opens things up for your outside shots, and that's what happened tonight. Jason Mills got hot and scored a lot of points from the inside during the third quarter, which allowed Alexander and Brent to get good looks from the outside.”
The win sets up a 13th Region All 'A' Tournament championship match-up with favorite Jackson County, who has steam rolled past its first two opponents in the tournament.
“They are probably the best team in the region,” Dinky Phipps said. “They are solid in every position, and it's going to be tough to beat them.
“Any time you can make it to the championship game, you've got a chance, though,” he added. “I'll take my chances and see. We do get a shot at them.”
Barbourville jumped out to a 21-13 edge at the end of the first quarter, but the play of Oneida Baptist's Samuel Robinson kept the Mountaineers close. Robinson knocked down two three-pointers in the first half, as Oneida Baptist trailed, 29-24.
Perry got the hot-hand to begin the second half, and scored the Tigers' first seven points, as Barbourville's lead grew to 36-29 at the 6:37 mark of the quarter. Two three-pointers by Phipps allowed the Tigers to close out the quarter with a 21-5 run to take a 57-34 lead. Mills scored 10 points during the stretch, including eight straight points.
The Tigers wrapped the win up by outscoring the Mountaineers 24-14 during the fourth quarter.
Robinson led Oneida Baptist with 17 points, as the Mountaineers finished the game hitting 18-of-56 from the floor while Barbourville hit 31-of-63 shot attempts.
Barbourville 81, Oneida Baptist 48
Barbourville 21 8 28 24 – 81
Oneida Baptist 13 11 10 14 – 48
Barbourville (81) – Phipps 19, Mills 24, Moore 2, Perry 16, Carter 2, Liford 6, Grubb 2, Peyton 5, Rose 5.
Oneida Baptist (48) – Sa. Robinson 17, Kiowe 13, Tague 3, Decker 11, Elandu 2, Si. Robinson 2.