Cumberland Gap, Claiborne split wins during varsity games
The varsity teams followed their JV counterparts Jan. 10 as the rivalry night of games continued. Using a height advantage the home team moved away from the visiting Lady Bulldogs and held the lead after one period, 11-5. The Lady Bulldogs were unsteady on passing the ball to open the second period, but it was evident that the Lady Panthers were going to have the advantage in the paint all night.
Claiborne stayed close with their mid-range shots and at the foul line. The Lady Panthers led at the half 25-17. During the third period Cumberland Gap kept Claiborne in the game by simply not hitting their free throws. A quick five-point run by the Lady Bulldogs pulled them to within five.
At the end of the third, the home team led by eight points, 40-32. Claiborne had no answer for the Lady Panthers’ play in the paint. Cumberland Gap secured the victory by the final score of 55-35.
Cumberland Gap head coach Dennis Cline had this to say following the game, “This is the game we have been waiting on all season. We have been looking for them to play this way and they did it tonight. I am very proud of them. “
Leading the home team to victory was former Lady Knight Abigail Garner with 16 points, 12 being in the opening half. Presely Cole had 12, Kayli Hinckley had 11, Emma Brooks had six, Nevaeh Kerns had four along with Kylie Fultz. Jaden Brock had two points in limited minutes.
Emma Beason led Claiborne with 11, Trinity Jones had seven, Kelsey Munsey had six. Three players had three each including Skylar Cook, Emma Myatt and Kaylee Cox. Hannah Fugate had two points.
The final game and the main event of the night was the Panthers and the Bulldogs boys game. This game had the ingredients for something special as both teams have dynamic players. The Panthers were determined to defend their home court and the Bulldogs wanted badly to get the win in unfriendly territory.
From the tip, both teams started scoring the basketball. The Panthers led early and CHS came and took the lead away. A technical foul by Claiborne allowed the Panthers to cut into the Bulldogs lead 14-10. After one period of play, CHS held the narrow lead at 17-15.
Claiborne kept a one-to-three point lead most of the second period, but with 30 seconds left a Panthers three tied the game at 25. Claiborne dialed up a play with five seconds left in the half that worked to perfection and gave the visitors a two point lead at 27-25.
Out of the locker room, Claiborne did what they needed to stay out in front but by the end of the third they had earned a 49-42 advantage.
It all came down to who was going to play better during the final period. The Bulldogs pulled on out to a 10-point lead at 54-44, but six minutes were left for a Gap comeback. Just under five minutes the fans from both sides were going crazy and yelling at the officials over their calls and game management.
The Panthers came away from the delay with momentum, but Claiborne went inside and led by seven. The Panthers went and hit a three the old fashioned way, but they fouled on the trip back down putting CHS on the line. The Bulldogs led by six with two minutes left. Claiborne went on to win with a 63-54 final score.
Claiborne head coach Corey McGinnis said this about the game, “Proud of the team. To come out of here with a win is very hard to do. This is a very tough place to play, and they are always a well-coached team.”
Kade Beeler led CHS in scoring with 21. Daniel Atkins had 13 and played big under the rim. Freshman Aiden Goins dropped in 10 points but was one of the go to guys when a basket was needed. Ethan Poore had nine and his brother Evan had seven. Blaine Caylor finished with three but played better than his points indicated.
Jake Templin led the Panthers with 13 points with six during the third period. Baseball star Brennan Murphy had 11, Nate Fuson was still nursing a bad ankle but dropped in nine points. Jaden Schertz and Caden Brunsma both had six. Elijah Lawson had three, as did Clint Crockett and Trey Turner.
The two teams will meet again during the regular season on Feb. 7. It is also the night that the late Carl “Coach” Green will officially have the gymnasium dedicated in his honor.