Polar Bears battle past Montgomery County

Photo by Scott Arthur.

BROOKSVILLE — Bracken County came out on top over Montgomery County 60-58 on Thursday night. They gave Montgomery County their first loss of the season while the Polar Bears stay undefeated at 4-0.

Bracken County got out to a quick 10-2 start over the Indians prompting head Coach Jon Bentley to call a timeout.

“I told them to be patient on offense,” said Coach Bentley. “The times we did, we were successful, and the times we weren’t, we took some bad shots. With a team like Bracken County and their guard play, that led to run-outs and transition baskets for them.”

From there, Montgomery County battled back to make it 10-9 game before the Polar Bears pulled away, ending the first quarter 17-13.

Montgomery County scored 18 points in the second quarter, while Blake Reed scored 9 of Bracken County’s 11 points in the frame. The Indians ended up with a halftime lead of 31-28.

Bentley said, “We really started mixing our defenses up and started chasing Blake Reed some. Whether it was a box and one or a triangle and two. We also wanted to try and limit (Chase) Archibald out of the corner, and if he did get the shot off we wanted to contest it.”

Blake Reed had 11 points at the half and Chase Archibald only had one three.

Bracken County came out of the half scoring 6 straight points in just over the minute. Montgomery County called a timeout.  The Polar Bears ended up going on a 14-2 to open the half thanks to a Cayden Reed and-1 and Devante Jefferson’s putback on his own miss.

Coach Adam Reed told his kids in the locker room how they would attack the different defenses thrown at them. “If we just stay calm and play hard, things will work out.”

Maury Thompson and Blake Reed traded three-point blows in the third quarter. Reed hit three threes in a row, and Thompson answered with three straight threes of his own.

“Maury is a tough kid,” said Bentley. “He was given an opportunity and took advantage of it. We’re hoping going forward that will build his confidence, and he could end up being one of our double-figure scorers.”

Despite Montgomery County’s clear size advantage, Bracken County had numerous second-chance points and only lost the rebounding battle 33-30. 5’11” Cayden Reed had 11 rebounds, more than anyone on the court.

“Our guys are relentless. We attack every part of the game, and rebounding is one of them. We might not be as big, but we are really smart and fast with the basketball, and that helps us combat our small size,” said Reed.

Blake Reed finished the night with five threes and 21 points while Thompson had four threes and 16 points.

At the end of the third, the Polar Bears led 53-46. Bracken won the quarter 25-15.

Montgomery County opened the final quarter with a 9-5 run to make the score 58-55 Polar Bears with 1:22 left in the game.

“I burned my final timeout with over a minute left. I had this voice in my head telling me that wasn’t good,” said Bentley.

After a Montgomery County timeout, the Polar Bears would go the length of the floor and hit Austin Norton for a wide-open layup against the Montgomery County press to make it 60-55 with under a minute left.

Bracken County would not score again. They were held to only 7 points in the fourth quarter.

With 51 seconds left, Luke Fawns hit three off one foot to make it a two-point game. The young fawn is a 6’5″ freshman and is the son of Montgomery County and 10th Region legend Billy Ray Fawns. Fawns had 13 points and 8 rebounds.

Unfortunately for Montgomery, they were 3 fouls away from the bonus as Bracken County kept winding down the clock. With 19.1 seconds left, the Bracken inbounds pass was stolen away by Thompson. Thompson tried to kick it back out, but his pass was batted away by Blake Reed.

After a scramble on the floor for the loose ball, Blake Reed ended up with it and was fouled with 8 seconds left. Montgomery County still had one more foul to give. Reed would eventually be fouled again and shoot the bonus with Bracken up 60-58 with 5.5 seconds left.

Blake Reed missed the free throw. Breccan Decker came down with it and passed to Thompson as the clock started ticking. Thompson drove the length of the floor guarded by three Polar Bears. A nifty spin move gave him a wide-open floater for a game-winning three.

The ball bounced off the backboard and off the front of the rim before falling to the hardwood. Bracken County escaped moving to 4-0 for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

Montgomery County beat district rival Paris this week 71-61. They are still without big man Alex Hatton. Senior point guard Trey Carroll is playing through a torn labrum and three tears in the AC joint where the collar bone separates from the shoulder blade.

Bracken County will now head into their matchup with Covington Catholic on Saturday night.

“We know how good Ipsaro is, and we know the culture (Scott) Ruthatz has established there. We just want to compete. We know if we ever will have the chance to beat GRC and play at Rupp, we have to play and compete with the teams that are playing on those stages.”

Box Score:
B: 17-11-25-7—60
M: 13-18-15-12—58

Scoring:
Bracken County (60) — B. Reed 21 (5 3pt), C. Reed 11 (11 rbs), Jefferson 9, Commodore 9, Archibald 6, Norton 4.
Montgomery County (58) — Thompson 16 (4 3pt, 9 rbs), Fawns 13, Decker 11, Gentry 6, Carroll 4, Rose 4, Stull 4.

Rebounds:
Bracken 30, Montgomery 33

Field Goals:
Bracken 24/62, Montgomery 22/54

Threes:
Bracken 8/23, Montgomery 7/21

Free Throws:
Bracken 4/7, Montgomery 7/9