By Les Dixon
BARBOURVILLE — Barbourville coach Dinky Phipps warned his team before Monday’s tip-off of semifinal action of the 51st District Tournament to not overlook the Lynn Camp Wildcats.
His team had already beaten Lynn Camp twice this season by an average margin of 39.5 points, so Phipps had reason for concern that his team might overlook the Wildcats.
Those concerns were put to rest right before the end of the first half. After seeing Clyde Dixon’s squad go on a 10-3 run to make the score 29-25, Barbourville’s Alexander Phipps hit two straight three-pointers, which allowed the Tigers to close out the first half with a 16-6 run and they never looked back, clinching a spot in next week’s 13th Region Tournament by winning, 84-64.
“I kept telling our kids to put them away early,” Dinky Phipps said. “Lynn Camp is a good team and we didn’t want them to hang around. I wanted to keep pressure on them and we were fortunate to get a couple of shots to fall there at the end of the half and that allowed us to pull away.”
If the game wasn’t in doubt at half time, the Tigers made sure to wrap things up to open the third quarter by going on a 15-6 run while taking a 60-37 edge.
Barbourville (19-10) connected on 10-of-18 shot attempts during the period and was fueled by both Devon Mills and Alexander Phipps, who combined to score 15 points during the stretch. The duo combined to score 46 points in the win with each player finishing with 23 points apiece. Mills also hit three three-pointers while Alexander Phipps was six-of-12 from three-point range.
“I felt like we hit some big shots to open the second half and really took control of the game then,” Dinky Phipps said. “I don’t know if they were tired or what, but anytime you can hit a lot of shots in a row like we did, it might take something out of the other team.”
The Tigers also received a double-double effort from point guard Tanner Moore, who finished with 11 points and 13 assists.
“I thought we played well, but I don’t think we played with the heart we have played with in other games,” Phipps said. “I don’t know if we took them for granted or what, but we shouldn’t have. They are a good team.”
Barbourville only led 19-10 at the end of the first quarter despite the Wildcats starting the game connecting on one-of-14 from the floor while finishing the period shooting three-of-23.
The Tigers led 26-15 before the play of the Wildcats’ Zach Smith and Skylar McFarland helped cut the Tigers’ deficit to 29-25 at the 3:40 mark left in the first half. McFarland finished the game with 22 points while Smith added 17 points.
An 11-0 run in less than a minute allowed Barbourville to take a 45-31 edge at halftime.
“We wanted to play with a fast pace in the first half and I thought we did that,” Phipps said. “Any time you can go on an 11-0 run to end the half, it’s a good thing.”
Lynn Camp (16-15) fell behind as much as 25 points in the third quarter and trailed 68-43 with eight minutes to play after seeing the Tigers shoot three-of-five from three-point range during the period.
“I felt my guys battled and gave good effort,” Dixon said. “We started the game shooting one-of-14 then got it together and cut the lead to four.
“Then boom, we made three senseless turnovers and went into the half down 14,” he added. “We came out in the third and made some of the same mistakes passing the ball away — actually unforced errors. The Tigers shot the ball well and took advantage of every mistake we made, but we never gave up. Good luck to Barbourville going forward.”
Barbourville’s lead grew to 28 points in the fourth quarter before the Wildcats put together a 9-2 run to close out the game.
The Tigers finished the game connecting on 32-of-60 shot attempts, including a 10-of-24 effort from three-point range while Lynn Camp hit 26-of-63 shot attempts.
51st District Tournament
At Barbourville High School
Barbourville 84, Lynn Camp 64
Lynn Camp 10 21 12 21 64
Barbourville 19 26 23 16 84
Lynn Camp (64) — McFarland 22, Smith 17, Trosper 12, Jones 8, Hammonds 4, Maier 1.
Barbourville (84) — D. Mills 23, Phipps 23, Moore 11, J. Mills 10, Strong 9, Engle 4, Perry 2, Rose 2.