By Kyle Lovern
GOODY, Ky. – Johnson Central was without the services of all-state candidate Shane Hall on Friday night who was home with the flu. The 6’8” all-region forward has already signed to play next season at Marshall University.
However, it didn’t matter as the Golden Eagles pounded the Belfry Pirates 70-54 in a physical contest Friday night at the BHS gym.
JCHS controlled the opening tip and went down for a layup. From that point they came out with full-court pressure and never let up, forcing the young Pirates into several turnovers and BHS quickly trailed 8-0. The Pirates had 13 first half turnovers.
Belfry settled down after a few early mistakes to cut into the lead and only trailed 17-11 at the end of the first period.
The Golden Eagles outscored the Pirates 19-11 in the second quarter to add onto their lead at 35-22 at the half.
Big freshman Cole Bentley had 10 points to lead BHS in the first half, while 9th graders Austin Woolum and Cameron Catron each scored 5 points.
Dalton Adkins’ 11 first half points led JCHS. Braxton Blair added 10 for the visitors.
Johnson Central continued their pressure in the third quarter, and Belfry coach Mark Thompson countered with his full-court defense, but the Eagles went on a run and led 44-28 at the 4:25 mark of the third quarter.
JCHS built the lead up to 20, 51-31, with 2:35 left in the third quarter and Bentley picked up his 4th foul.
From that point Central coasted and the scrappy Pirates kept fighting, but ran out of time.
There were 40 fouls whistled in the contest, 23 on Belfry and 17 on JCHS.
Belfry had a tough night shooting the basketball, making only 20-63 from the floor for 31 percent, including 7-32 from 3-point range. The Pirates were also cold at the foul line making 7-13 for 54 percent.
Meanwhile, Johnson Central made 23-58 from the field for 40 percent, including 5-of-21 from behind the arc. They were 19-of-29 from the charity stripe for 66 percent.
Kyle Gullett and Josh Hitchcock led a balanced JCHS scoring attack with 13 points apiece, while Adkins also finished with 13 and Blair 12.
Bentley led Belfry with 13 points, before fouling out early in the final quarter. Woolum finished with 13, including a pair of 3-pointers. Trey Price finished with 10 and also canned a couple of 3’s.
Garrett Fannin finished with 7 points, but dished out 5 assists. Bentley led the team with 9 rebounds, while Dawson Isom and Price both pulled down boards.
Belfry committed 24 turnovers, several of which the Eagles turned into points. JCHS had 19 turnovers.
Belfry (5-11) returns to action Tuesday as they travel to Pike Central for a district game. They play Knott County Central on the road on Friday and Sheldon Clark on Saturday.
Score by quarters:
Johnson Cent. (12-5) - 17 18 20 15 - 70
Belfry (5-11) – 11 11 9 23 - 54
Johnson Central (70) - Adkins 13, B. Blair 12, McPeek 2, Gullett 13, Rice 1, M. Blair 7, Salyers 2, Ratliff 5, Hitchcock 13, Pack 2.
Belfry (54) — Fannin 7, Price 10, Woolum 13, Bentley 15, Isom 3, Catron 5, Copley 1.
(Kyle Lovern is the Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 304-235-4242, ext. 33 or Twitter @KyleLovern)