By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
BARBOURVILLE — The Barbourville Tigers knocked down 16 three-pointers while opening 2013 with a bang by defeating Riverside Christian Tuesday, 87-60.
The Tigers received a 20-point effort from senior Devon Mills while teammate Alexander Phipps followed with 19 points during the 27-point win.
Mills also hit four three-pointers while Phipps led Barbourville with five three-pointers.
“I thought we came out and did what we needed to do,” Barbourville coach Dinky Phipps said. “I always feel like if you can play a game then it’s better than practicing against each other. I believe our kids were getting tired off that and they were looking forward to playing some one else.”
The game was never in doubt with the Tigers taking a 26-17 edge at the end of the first quarter.
Phipps squad led 49-26 at halftime, which allowed him to play all of his players during the game.
“That was another big thing for us, too — being able to play everyone,” Phipps said. “The main thing is that we wanted a ball in our hands and we were able to do that today. Everyone got in and played and that just gives our younger guys some experience.”
Riverside Christian never threatened during the second half, but did manage to go on a 9-0 run late in the third quarter, but Barbourville’s size and depth turned out to be too much for the overmatched Rams.
“I was pleased with the way we played today,” Phipps said. “I really like how Devon is playing right now and we have some other kids that are really stepping up, too.”
Phipps admitted it was important to get another game in before his team began playing 51st District games this week beginning with Friday’s matchup with Lynn Camp.
“We didn’t do really well in the tournaments we played in during Christmas Break and in both of those, we were by far not the best team,” he said. “We have some big games coming up along with the All ‘A’ Classic, so it’s time for us to be playing our best basketball.”
Barbourville 87, Riverside Christian 60
Riverside Christian 17 9 17 17 60
Barbourville 26 23 20 18 87
Riverside Christian (60) — Hughes 24, Spencer 8, Smith 17, Wilson 6, Noah 5.
Barbourville (87) — D. Mills 20, Strong 3, Phipps 19, J. Mills 13, Moore 3, Rose 6, Peyton 2, Eldridge 9, T. Mills 6, Perry 3, McWilliams 3.