The Powell County Pirates started out on a whirlwind schedule, but that has slowed down some now. In fact in the past week they have only played one game. That was a home contest against the Paintsville Tigers last Monday night. Despite a good game full of action, Powell fell to the Tigers, 57-53.
The game started out with a fury of action for the Pirates Bryce Merion racked up the first four points, on a baseline move and a fast break layup. Following a quick three from the visitors, Payton Barnett nailed a baseline shot to give the Pirates a quick 6-3 lead.
The Tigers rolled off seven unanswered points before Merion nailed a trey to make it 10-9. Both teams kept up the quick style of play and with only one foul on each team, the quarter ended with Paintsville leading, 18-14.
The second quarter was just as fast and fun to watch. A balanced attack from Merion, Barnett, Chimaobi Ajuonuma and Carlos Hernandez helped the Pirates to outscore the Tigers 12-4 in the period. The physical contest still heard very little whistles from the referees. Powell enjoyed a 26-22 halftime advantage.
The third quarter saw a quick change in momentum as the Tigers Seth Williams caught fire from outside the three point arc. That, coupled with a blitzkrieg offense, caught the Pirates a little off guard. The Tigers came from behind to go on a 12-0 run to take a 34-28 lead at the 4:37 mark in the quarter.
The Pirates regrouped and began to climb back into the fray. Two charity tosses by Barnett and a six foot jumper in the lane, as well as a put back by Colby Cook and a 12 foot baseline jumper and a tap in by Ajuonuma pulled Powell to a 38-38 tie. A basket late in the quarter gave Paintsville a 40-38 lead entering the fourth quarter.
The final frame saw the Tigers use a two-three zone to try to slow the game down a bit. The game became a battle of trading baskets. Like two heavyweight boxers in the last round of a prize fight, both teams traded baskets back-and-forth. The Tigers did manage to push ahead, 53-47 with just 2:03 to play.
Powell bought back hard and furious in the final two minutes of the game. Hernandez put back his own his to make it four point game. The Tigers then committed two straight turnovers, but the Pirates missed a couple of chances with some rushed shot selections.
The Pirates did make the game interesting when Barnett nailed a three pointer to make it 53-52. After a missed Tigers shot the Pirates were driving, but turned the ball over. Paintsville’s Mason Moore hit a 12 foot jumper in the lane and Hernandez connected on one of two free throws.. But a wide open layup by the Tigers Braxton Tharp gave the visitors a 57-53 lead. The Pirates missed two three point attempts in the final 20 seconds, as Paintsville hung on for the 57-53 win.
Williams led all scorers with 24 points. He as the only Tiger in double figures. Paintsville improved to 2-0.
Powell was led by Barnett with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Hernandez scored 10 points and picked up six boards. Merion added nine, Ajuonuma added eight points and 13 rebounds, while Cook scored four points. The Pirates shot 35.4 percent from the field and was three of four from the charity stripe.
Powell was set to play Richmond Model this past Tuesday. The Pirates travel to Leslie County on Friday and then return home to host Rowan County this Saturday night. The team will then host Owsley County on Dec. 19 and Lee County on Dec 22, in back-to-back district matchups.