11 three-pointers spur Bulldogs to victory
The final game of the night featured the boys teams, and Claiborne was going for the varsity sweep. Claiborne opened the game with a three and added a free throw to lead 4-0. Another CHS three made it 7-0 before the Panthers hit their first basket of the game.
A third three made the score 10-2. The fourth CHS three pushed the score out to 13-2. The fifth three made it 18-8 as the period came to an end. Claiborne hit their sixth three early in the second period to lead 21-10. The Panthers stayed calm and kept taking the ball to the hoop and with 4:34 before the half were down by only seven at 21-14.
A seventh Bulldog three fell making the score 25-18 with seconds remaining in the half.
During halftime the gymnasium was officially dedicated in the name and memory of coach Carl R. Green with his son Col. Lance Green speaking in front of former Blue Devils. Green thanked everyone involved in getting this loving honor accomplished.
Coming out of the locker room, Claiborne didn’t work inside but Cumberland Gap did and made it a three-point game; however, an eighth 3-pointer fell for Claiborne and they went back out front by six. The Bulldogs hit the ninth 3-pointer and then the tenth, 36-25. At the end of three, the visiting Panthers were hanging around down by only 10 at 42-32.
Cumberland Gap got to within eight with 7:02 remaining, but they were staying with the plan of working in the paint. At 5:40, Claiborne hit their 11th 3-pointer and were leading 48-34. At 4:18 a technical foul was issued to a Panther player who thought he was fouled and most of the gym agreed.
There was not quit in the Panthers as they defended well and turnovers led to them getting right back in the game, 52-45. Two more baskets and a three pointer gave the Panthers the lead at 54-52. A Claiborne free throw then recaptured the lead by one.
Twice the two teams swapped the lead and with 40.5 seconds remaining Claiborne was up by two. The Panthers thought they were fouled on a shot down low and their fans were livid. Claiborne came away with a huge block and was immediately fouled hitting one free throw. The Panthers had one last try to tie the game, but the 3-pointer hit the rim and took a bad bounce. Claiborne had withstood a Panther attack of mammoth proportions. The final was 60-57 in a very entertaining game.
Bulldogs head coach Corey McGinnis said this about the game, “What else do you expect in this game? They fought back and tried to give me a heart attack, but it was all those guys. They did what they needed to win tonight, and I’m very proud of them. Kade Beeler, what else can you say? The team, they all fought hard.”
When asked about his team dropping in 11 threes he added, “Wow, I didn’t know they had done that. They shot the ball extremely well.”
Kade Beeler led the team in scoring despite being shutout in the first half. He finished with 23. Five first period 3-pointers by Jacob Williams, Blaine Caylor and Evan Poore set the tone early. Claiborne finished with 11 three-point baskets. Caylor finished with nine points, Williams with 11 and Poore with six. Isaac Thomas and Daniel Atkins had five each and Ethan Poore rounded out the total with a single point.
The Panthers were led by Nate Fuson and Jake Templin, both with 15. Jaden Schertz was heckled all game long by the Bulldogs student section and dropped in nine points. Elijah Lawson had four and Trey Turner had two points.