Poynter’s six threes lead Trojans past Clay County (Tenn.)
GLASGOW – For the first time this season, Barren County was able to grind one out.
Taking on a physical Clay County (Tenn.) team in their own Barren Hoops Classic, the Trojans battled from start to finish, never gave up and earned a hard-fought 61-57 win on Thursday evening at Trojan Gym.
Barren County (4-5 overall) – which bounced back from Wednesday’s 72-66 loss to Elizabethtown – led 14-11 after the opening quarter but faced a 29-19 deficit at halftime. The Trojans fought back in the third quarter to get within 39-36 entering the fourth and were able to make big plays down the stretch and record the victory.
“It was big for our team,” Barren County coach Warren Cunningham said of the win. “We were disappointed last night. ETown is a good team, but we just felt like we made a lot of mistakes that kind of cost us a lot throughout the game. We came in to practice this morning at 8:00 and had a good workout and we got after it a little bit.
“The guys had a good edge about them this morning – and I thought it carried over into tonight. I thought we played with a little more sense of energy, and it helps when you make shots.”
Taye Poynter knocked down six three-pointers and poured in a game-high 24 points, while Will Bandy dropped 21 to lead the Trojans. Barren County finished with nine made threes as a team – eight of those coming in the second half.
Landon Woodock carried Clay County (6-2) with 20 points, while Gavin Silk added 14.
“I feel like it was just confidence,” Poynter said of his performance. “Seeing one go through really helped me. Seeing other guys’ shots go through helped, as well. Will had that going tonight, and it helped me.”
Barren County came out focused and led 14-11 after one, but Clay County turned on its game in the ensuing period. Opening the second with a quick 8-0 run, the Bulldogs jumped in front 19-14 at the 5:52 mark and forced the Trojans to call a timeout.
The Trojans continued to get outplayed throughout the rest of the half as Clay County outscored them 18-5 over the eight-minute stretch to lead 29-19 at the break. The Bulldogs forced seven Barren County turnovers in the half and held a 17-7 advantage in the rebounding category.
Barren County battled back in the ensuing half.
“We’ve gotta score it. You can’t score 19 in the first half. You’re not going to beat anyone scoring 19 at half,” Cunningham said. “You’ve gotta make some shots and score it. Taye really got going there and the guys did a really nice job of getting him the ball. Will made some big ones there, too.”
After cutting their deficit to 35-28 at the 3:48 mark of the third quarter, the Trojans got within 37-36 just before the end of the period. Although it trailed 39-36 entering the fourth, Barren County outscored Clay County 17-10 in the third to gain some momentum.
Clay County fired back in the fourth and took a 46-39 lead at the 6:39 mark. Poynter’s 3 from the left wing brought Barren County within 46-44, and a pair of Bandy free throws made it 48-46 Clay County with just over four minutes remaining.
Barren County had the chance to tie it at 50-all, but a missed free-throw kept Clay County in front 50-49 with 1:59 left. Just one play later, Bandy stepped up and splashed the left-corner three to give the Trojans a 52-50 lead with 1:23 left. Up 56-52 with 25.5 seconds to tick, Barren County was able to hold on for the grinded-out victory.
“I’ve been frustrated with them, just because we’re better than how we’ve played at times,” said Cunningham. “We’re letting some little things cost us some wins against good teams. We know if we want to get to where we want to be when it comes February and March, we’ve got to be better at those things.
“We’re making some strides. We’re getting there.”
Barren County will be back in action Friday in the final day of the Barren Hoops Classic against Lighthouse Christian (Tenn.). Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.
“I felt like that was a really good win,” Poynter said. “That was one of the tougher teams we’ve played this season. To be able to beat a team like that was a real confidence booster. We hope to continue on.”
Clay County – 11 18 10 18 – 57
Barren County – 14 5 17 25 – 61
CCHS – Landon Woodcock 20, Gavin Silk 14, Jake Ashlock 13, Heath Rimes 6, BJ Emberton 2, Mason Sharp 2.
BCHS – Taye Poynter 24, Will Bandy 21, Landon Key 6, Gavin Withthrow 4, Cody Lane 3, Aden Nyekan 2, Tyler Bush 1.