The Powell County Pirate basketball team was glad to see the 56th District Tournament finally get here. The second half of the season has been an uphill battle for the Pirates. The weather and stiffer competition have gotten the better of Powell County, as of late.
Last Wednesday, Powell was ready to play the Lee County Bobcats in the opening round of the 56th District Tournament. Lee County was hosting the tournament and had beaten the Pirates by 20 points just two weeks before in Stanton. The Pirates have played well after that loss but have no victories to show for it.
Powell started off the game hot and stayed that way through the first quarter. Christian Brewer had 13 points in the first quarter including 3 three pointers. The Pirates held the lead 23-15 after one quarter. The Pirates continued to build the lead in the second quarter. Powell took advantage of their fast break opportunities and led 40-26 at halftime.
Lee County came out of the locker room and quickly cut the Pirate lead down to eleven points. The Pirates were able to withstand the Bobcats surge and maintain their lead. After three quarters Powell led 57-43.
The final quarter had just begun when Lee County’s Dontarius Pittman went inside for a bucket and the foul. Pittman made his free throw and the Pirate lead was down to eleven again. Powell had the ball and ran almost a minute off the clock before missing a shot. Lee County rebounded and quickly scored at the other end. The Bobcats got a steal on the inbound pass by Chase Baker. Baker took a dribble a made the basket in the lane with a Powell County foul. Lee County had scored seven points in a row, Powell led 57-50. Coach Brian Hall called a timeout to settle his team down. Lee’s Baker missed the free throw and Powell got the ball quickly to Morgan Reed at the three point line. Reed appeared ready to shoot as Lee’s Pittman jumped out to block his shot. Instead, Reed faked and made a perfect bounce pass to Jacob Conner for an easy layup. The Powell bench and crowd went wild as the Pirates gained back their momentum and rebuilt the lead. Lee County could never make another serious run at the Pirates and Powell won the game, 71-63.
Powell was led in scoring by Christian Brewer with 28 points, Morgan Reed had 13 points, Jacob Conner scored 12 points and Carlisle Creech had 10 points. Donovan Nolan chipped in four points, Matt Pelfrey scored two points and Ryan Goodwin had two points in the Pirates victory. Powell County in the game shot 52 percent from the field. Lee County was led in scoring by Gus Wise with 18 points.
Powell County, with the win, advanced to the Championship Game of the 56th District Tournament to play Owsley County. The snow cancelled Thursday’s game and moved Powell’s game to Saturday night. Also, The Pirates now advance to the 14th Regional Tournament, this week, at Breathitt County.
Powell and Owsley had played three times during the regular season with the Pirates winning two of the games. All three games had been close with eight points being the biggest margin of victory. The two teams played a game that will be talked about for years to come. The packed house at Lee County would get their money’s worth.
Foul trouble plagued both teams in the first half. The Pirate bench came up huge in the first half as Matt Pelfrey and Ryan Goodwin had nine points combined and the Pirates lead at the half, 38-32. The third quarter belonged to Owsley County. Tyler Williams scored 15 points as the Owls gained the lead 57-54 with one quarter remaining.
The fourth quarter was terrific as Owsley County increased their lead to 10. Powell began to take the ball inside for easy baskets and the Pirates started to foul. The Owls had chances to put Powell away but could not hit free throws and the Pirates trailed 71- 68, with 12 seconds remaining. Powell passed the ball around and found Christian Brewer for a three pointer. Brewer’s shot was perfect and the game went to overtime.
Overtime, the Owls got the tip and scored the first five points. Powell battled back and trailed by two points with less than a minute remaining in overtime. Powell’s Matt Pelfrey drove the ball to the basket and was fouled. He calmly sank both free throws and the game was tied, 86-86. Owsley County had the ball and missed two shots only to have Timmy Murrell hit a shot after the buzzer. The game headed to double overtime.
Owsley County once again scored first with a basket and two free throws to lead by four points. Powell had to fight back from behind with Pelfrey, Goodwin and Brewer all making baskets down the stretch. Devin Evans held the ball for the Owls and made six straight free throws to give Owsley a two point lead with 30 seconds to go in double overtime. Owsley’s Dwight Burkhart made one of two free throws to raise the Owls lead to three points with six seconds to go. Powell inbounded the ball and Owsley quickly knocked it out of bounds. The Pirates only had 1.5 seconds to find a good shot to tie the game. Powell set screens for Christian Brewer and he had a great look at the basket, but it would not fall for the Pirate senior. Owsley County won 99-96 in double overtime.
Powell County was led by Morgan Reed with 24 points, Carlisle Creech had 20 points, Christian Brewer had 19 points and Matt Pelfrey had 14 points. Donovan Nolan scored nine points, Ryan Goodwin had five points, Jacob Conner had three points and Austin Monnett chipped in two points for the Pirates. Owsley County was led in scoring by Devin Evans with 39 points.
The Pirates’ Christian Brewer, Carlisle Creech and Morgan Reed were named to the 56th District All-Tournament Team.
Powell County will be in action Thursday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the 14th Regional Tournament from Breathitt County. The Pirates will take on the Hazard Bulldogs, the defending 14th Region Champs. Good Luck Pirates.