GOODY, Ky. – The Belfry Pirates locked up the No. 1 seed in the 60th District tournament with at 72 to 61 win at home on Tuesday night against county rival Pike County Central.
The Pirates jumped out to an early 15-1 lead using smothering full-court pressure. But the visiting Hawks fought back to cut the lead to 20-11 at the end of the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, with 7:09 left in the half, there were some difficulties with the scoreboard and an official timeout was called. This may have given Pike Central a little time to regroup. Belfry led 24-14 at this point.
Belfry center Tony Messer picked up his third foul with 2:57 left in the half and had to sit the rest of the second quarter.
Pike Central outscored Belfry 16-13 in the second to cut the Pirate lead to 32-27 at the half.
Senior guard Josh Robinson had 18 first half points to lead Belfry, while Messer scored nine. Teddy Smith had 11 and Andy Fields eight for Pike Central in the first two quarters.
In the third quarter, Belfry coach Randy Casey decided to keep Messer out because of the foul situation. But it was senior Brett Charles who stepped up to score 12 in the third period to help Belfry hang onto its lead.
The Pirates outscored the Hawks 20-13 in the third to build a little cushion. But Pike Central would not go away. They continued to fight back and at one point cut the lead to six in the final quarter.
But Belfry was able to hold onto the lead and come away with the big victory.
Robinson, who also got into some late foul trouble, led Belfry with 27 points, while Charles added 22 for BHS. Messer ended the game with 14 points and 10 rebounds. He also blocked five shots. He now has over 100 career blocked shots for the Pirates. He passed the century mark in the first half.
“We had a good effort, especially on the defensive end,” Casey said. “It was a good win and helped us go in with the No. 1 seed.”
“At different times we had players step up. When Tony got in foul trouble, I thought the other guys stepped up and help us up our lead,” Casey added. “It was a solid team effort and a good win for us.”
Smith led PCC with 21 points, while Ethan Blackburn added 14 and Fields finished with 10.
The two teams split their regular season matchups. Pike Central won the first matchup on their home court 73-65. The Pirates needed to beat the Hawks by more than eight for the tie breaker scenario for the upcoming 60th District Tournament, which will be hosted by Belfry this year.
The Pirates 11 point victory margin enables them to be the No. 1 seed. Phelps is the third team in the district. This guarantees Belfry a spot in the 15th Regional Tournament played at the Expo Center in Pikeville. In Kentucky, both the district champion and runner-up advance to the next round.
The No. 1 seed automatically puts them in the championship game playing the winner of the Pike Central-Phelps game. Pike Central would be the heavy favorite in that contest. This would put the two rivals playing for a third time this season in the rubber game of the matchup.
Belfry is now 9-6 on the season and 3-1 in the district and 3-4 in the region. Pike Central is 9-10 for the season, 2-1 in the district and 4-4 in the region.
The Pirates game with Mt. View, W.Va. tonight has been canceled. They will hit the road and travel to Knott County Central Saturday, February 2. Logan, W.Va. is scheduled to come to Belfry on Monday, February 4.
Pike Central will host Hazard tonight and travel to Prestonsburg on Saturday.
Score by quarters:
PCC … 11 16 13 21 – 61
BHS …. 20 13 20 19 - 72
Pike Co. Central (9-10) — Burnett 6, Elkins 6, Blackburn 14, Tibbs 4, Smith 21, Fields 10.
Belfry (9-6) — Charles 22, Robinson 27, Hurley 1, Messer 14, West 3, Johnson 3, Fannin 2.