Breaking down day 3 of the WYMT Food City Mountain Basketball Classic
The WYMT Food City Mountain Basketball Classic presented by Kentucky Farm Bureau and sponsored by ARH rolls on as we have reached the third night of the tournament. Here’s a breakdown of this evening’s matchups as we take a look at the second half of the Boys’ Quarterfinals.
Knott Central (1-1) vs. No. 7 Harlan (0-0) - 6 p.m.
The Patriots had a tremendous 2021 season, finishing with an 18-8 record (15-1 in region play) and capturing their first 14th Region Championship since 2015. Knott Central fell to Elizabethtown in the first round of the Sweet Sixteen, 87-59. BB King is now in his 12th season as the head coach of the Patriots. Knott Central lost their top three scorers from last season in Colby Napier (20.7 PPG), Josh McGuire (13.9 PPG) and Kent Damron (10.4 PPG). The Patriots do bring back Scott Shepherd, though as the senior was the team’s fourth-leading scorer (7.2 PPG) and second-leading rebounder (6.2 RPG) last season. The Patriots dropped their season opener at Letcher Central, 53-47. Freshman Drake Slone had a team-high 14 points against the Cougars while Shepherd recorded a double-double (ten points, 15 rebounds). Knott Central bounced back in their home opener against Prestonsburg, 78-66. Slone and Shepherd co-led the team in scoring against the Blackcats with 21 points each while senior Chuck Mullins had 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Harlan is coming off of a great 2021 season as they generated a 13-3 region record and 17-6 overall. The Green Dragons knocked off archrival Harlan County in the 52nd District Championship, 61-55 but were bounced in the quarterfinals of the 13th Region Tournament by Corbin, 63-53. Derrick Akal is in his sixth season as the head coach of the Green Dragons. Harlan brings back their top three scorers from last season in senior Jordan Akal (26.1 PPG) and juniors Jae dyn Gist (12.8 PPG) and Kaleb McLendon (11.5 PPG). Gist was also the team’s leading rebounder last season (11.0 RPG). This will be the Green Dragons’ first game this season.
Perry Central (1-1) vs. No. 3 Paintsville (2-0) - 7:45 p.m.
Perry Central finished last season with a 9-14 record and went 5-7 against region opponents. The Commodores lost to rival Hazard in the 54th District Title Game, 54-53 then fell to 14th Region Champion Knott Central in the region semifinals, 68-59. Shannon Hoskins is in his ninth season as the head coach of the Commodores. Perry Central brings back their top three scorers in freshman Rydge Beverly (14.5 PPG), junior Tyler Day (12.4 PPG) and senior Lanse McKenzie (8.8 PPG). McKenzie was also Perry Central’s leading rebounder last season (7.1 RPG). The Commodores dropped their season opener against Harlan County, 86-65. Beverly spearheaded the scoring attack with 20 points while senior Landon Napier was the team’s other double-figure scorer with 11 points against the Black Bears. The Commodores rebounded with a 77-73 victory against Cordia in their most recent outing. Four players reached double figures against the Lions including Beverly, who had a game-high 26 points in the win. McKenzie racked up a double-double with ten points and 14 rebounds.
The Tigers went 15-9 last season (14-6 in region play) and defeated Johnson Central in both the 57th District Championship (84-73 in OT) and the 15th Region Championship (48-46 in 2OT). Paintsville fell to Boyle County in the opening round of the Sweet Sixteen, 70-56. Landon Slone is at the helm for his sixth season as Paintsville’s head coach. The Tigers return a big chuck of their scoring from last season in seniors Colby Fugate (21.0 PPG) and Braxton Tharp (12.6 PPG) and junior Connor Fugate (11.0 PPG). Connor Fugate led the team in rebounding last season (6.4 RPG). The Tigers opened their season with a victory against Wolfe County, 72-47. Four players reached double figures in the win against the Wolves including Connor Fugate, who generated a double-double with a game-high 24 points and ten rebounds. Senior Baron Ratliff also produced a double-double with ten points and a team-high 13 rebounds. The Tigers followed up their strong outing against Wolfe County with another 25-point rout against Pike Central, 68-43. Colby Fugate had another fantastic performance in that contest with 30 points while Connor Fugate recorded another double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds in the win against the Hawks.
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