(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
EAST PRAIRIE -- Despite missing half of the fourth quarter to injury on Tuesday, Bell City junior Jared Yates did more than enough to help the Cubs overcome an eight-point halftime deficit to East Prairie.
Connecting on five 3-pointers in the third quarter alone, Yates finished the night with 22 second half points as Bell City overtook the Eagles late in the fourth and held on for a 73-66 win.
"We left him open a little bit there," East Prairie head coach Casey Knight said. "But in the third quarter after he hit about two (3-pointers) we had hands in his face and he's still hitting. Hats off to him. He likes this gymnasium."
With his team down 38-28 in the opening minute of the second half, Yates hit back-to-back 3-pointers for the Cubs in a 30 second span to kicked off a 25 point quarter by Bell City.
Finishing the frame on a 17-6 run, Bell City came back to tie the game at 53-53 when Yates hit one final 3-pointer with eight seconds left to finish the quarter with 17 points.
"He was in a rhythm," Bell City head coach Nate Wills said of Yates. "And it's one of those things where sometimes his shot selection isn't the greatest, but when things are going in you just kind of let him go and watch.
"If he doesn't hit those shots and show some guts then the outcome could have been way different. I think he kind of set the tone for rest of our guys. They saw what Jared was doing and they took a lead from that."
Taking a two-point lead into the fourth off one final basket from Devin Cook in the final seconds of the third, East Prairie was able to retake the lead and hold the Cubs back until the final three minutes of regulation.
After a quick basket by Josh Overbey that cut the Eagles lead to one, Yates was fouled on a jumper with 3:02 to play. Connecting on both the shot and ensuing free throw, Yates gave Bell City a 63-61 advantage.
Still trailing with under two minutes to play the Eagles started to foul only to see Bell City go 10 of 14 from the line in the final 1:56 to close out the win.
"We're not use to playing with a lead so maybe there in the third we get to think we have it in the bag and real quick it goes to panic mode," Knight said. "In the fourth (Bell City) is coming up with long rebounds and loose balls and they hit their free throws."
"I felt good about it as long we never lost our lead. I think we saw that lead actually evaporate we couldn't bounce back from that."
After holding a three-point lead midway through the second frame, it was a 7-2 run in the final three minutes of the half that gave the East Prairie an eight point advantage at the half.
Capping their run before the break, sophomore Damion Tipler went up for a tip in off a missed shot at the buzzer to make it 36-28 while Phillip Latamondeer started the third with a quick basket on their opening possession to push the Eagles up by 10.
Leading East Prairie on the night, Tipler had 13 points on the night, followed by Latamondeer and Dalton Golightly with 12 each.
Shawn King had 11 points, including nine in the fourth quarter while Logan Staggs finished with 10.
On being outscored 25-19 in the third quarter, Knight said, "It seems like we talk about one quarter every game. It's just that one quarter that kills us.
"We have a double-digit lead and it's evaporated like that. I give (Bell City) credit because they kept chipping away and fighting for the ball. We never broke their back, they kept up the energy."
For Bell City, Yates finished with a game-high 31 points with McKenzie Vires and Shane Hughes each finished with 12.
"We've been a second half team all year," said of his team's comeback. "Our kids have a lot of guts. Jerad Yates came in hurt and just kept playing and wanting to go in and wanting to do well for his team.
"We just keep coming at you. If there's one thing I've noticed about our team it's our resiliency and I'm very proud of them about that."
BELL CITY (73) -- McKenzie Vires 12, Jerad Yates 31, Aaron Smith 3, Trey Geiger 6, Josh Overbey 9, Shane Hughes 12. FG 21, FT 21-28, F 15. (3-pointers: Yates 7, Smith 1, Geiger 1, Overbey 1. Fouled out: Smith.)
EAST PRAIRIE (66) -- Shawn King 11, Dalton Golightly 12, Devin Cook 2, Phillip Latamondeer 12, Damion Tipler 13, Seth Bays 3, Logan Staggs 10, Ryan Mathis 3. FG 28, FT 8-16, F 24. (3-pointers: King 1, Bays 1. Fouled out: King, Cook, Staggs.)