Knott Central uses late 4th quarter run to beat Martin County 60-45 for 3rd place in the Mountain Classic.
HAZARD, Ky (WYMT) - The WYMT Food City Mountain Basketball Classic Presented by your local Kentucky Farm Bureau Agents and sponsored by ARH is a tournament that creates a post-season like atmosphere all while creating a stage during the KHSAA regular season that is a little unique to high school basketball.
“It is a lot of fun,” said Martin County’s Katie Marcum who led all scores with 23 points. ”It is definitely a challenge playing 12 hours after a game but you got to keep pushing through it.”
Saturday morning’s third place girls’ game coin-flipped, the new alternative to the jump ball to start the game due to COVID-19, at 10 a.m. 12 hours after Martin County left the floor the night prior in the tournaments semifinal game.
“It is every kids dream to play in the WYMT (Food City Mountain Basketball) Classic,” said Martin County’s coach Robin Newsome. “Three games in three days, it’s hard. Im not going to lie to you but I thought our kids played hard. They gave it all they had. They didn’t lie down.”
Knott Central was also in action Friday, falling to North Laurel 74-54 in the first semifinal game of the night.
“It prepares our bodies,” said Knott Central’s Presley Fletcher. “I woke up this morning so sore I could hardly move my legs.”
The Lady Patriots jumped out to an 8-2 lead early, but Martin County buckled down and battled back to stay within one point at the half, 14-13.
In the third, Brooke Mason hit a three point basket as time expired making the game 35-30. In the final frame, Martin County opened the quarter with the first two points, but the Lady Patriots responded on a 7-0 run that padded their lead 42-32.
Knott Central saw points from five players, four of which scoring double-digits. The Lady Patriots hit 11 three pointers marking more than half of their points. Kylie Gayheart led her team with 19 points, as all but one field goal came from behind the arc.
“The first three threes I shot I didn’t make so I knew I had to step up,” said Gayheart. “Everybody misses, you just got to keep shooting.”
Knott Central improves to 9-4 on the season as they pick up the school’s first WYMT Food City Mountain Basketball Classic trophy since the team won the entire girls’ tournament in 2016.
“We bounced back with a good win over a good team,” said Knott Central’s coach Jeff Honeycutt. “Any time you can do that it is a plus for your program.”
With the third place trophy in hand, the Lady Patriots will shift their hunt for more hardware focusing on the district and regional tournament.
“It feels good but we just got to stay focused and be ready for the big tournament,” said Knott Central’s Abby Maggard. “You get the feel of what (the stage is) we’re going to be playing on so we just got to get ready for that.
Martin County is now 8-4. The Lady Cardinals, who played three games in as many days during the classic, will be back in action Monday against Belfry, Thursday against district foe Paintsville, and on the road in Raceland Saturday as their marathon continues.
You can watch the post-game interview below:
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