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There are few guarantees in sports, but one thing is about as certain as it gets – when Spencer County and Anderson County square off for a boys basketball game, no one is leaving the gym until the final buzzer.
For the second time this season, the Bears and Bearcats slugged it out to the finish Wednesday night in the opening round of the 30th District Tournament. With Anderson clinging to a one-point lead, 47-46, Spencer County freshman Brandon Miller let fly a three-pointer with just a couple of tics left on the clock but the shot was just short, bouncing off the front of the rim. There was not enough time for a put-back and the Bears saw a remarkable turn-around season come to a disappointing end.
It was a close game all the way through and as the fourth quarter began, it was apparent the game would be another thriller between these two district foes. It was that way earlier in the season when the visiting Bearcats escaped from Taylorsville with a two-point win on a last-second tip-in to secure a 61-59 during the regular season.
Neither team built a lead larger than five and early on those who attended knew it was going to be close. Anderson County jumped out 4-0 as Jacob Russell scored four points inside before Logan Dunbar answered for Spencer County. In fact, Russell would be the lone Bearcat to score in the first quarter as he worked hard inside for points, but Spencer County answered with five different players scoring, including Trey Wyatt converting a steal into a basket to give the Bears their first lead at 8-7. An Erico Smith bucket inside put Spencer County on top 13-9, and they held on to a 13-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the two teams traded baskets as the lead see-sawed back and forth. Logan Dunbar drove for two points with nearly two and half minutes remaining in the half, but Anderson’s deliberate offense slowed the pace and good defense kept either team from scoring again as the Bears took a 22-21 lead to the locker room.
In the third quarter, it again went back and forth as the teams traded baskets and traded leads. Then with just under a minute remaining and Anderson County holding a 33-32 lead, they scored four unanswered points to take the largest lead of the game, 37-32 into the fourth quarter.
Chris Dunbar scored two inside buckets early in the fourth trim the lead to one and two minutes later, Logan Dunbar pulled up for a three-pointer to give the Bears a 41-39 lead with just over three and half minutes remaining.
Anderson would retake the lead on a basket after a steal and then led 45-41 with 40 seconds remaining. Trey Wyatt drove for a bucket to trim it to 45-43 but Anderson answered to go up 47-43 with just 27 seconds left. Wyatt then hit an off-balance three pointer to make it 47-46 and Anderson County missed a free throw at the other end to set up the final play. Spencer County called a time out with just under 11 seconds remaining. The Bearcats played tough defense and Miller found himself with the ball as the clock neared zero, forcing him to put up the final desperation shot, that fell just short.
The Bears, who finished with just six wins last season, ended the season with a 15-9 record. The team with no seniors should return everyone next year, and they’ll likely be favored to win these close games next year.
Logan Dunbar led the Bears with 18 points while Wyatt added 13. Chris Dunbar added nine points while Smith scored four and Goodwin added two for the Bears.