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The dream season for the Spencer County Bears moves forward following a 50-46 victory over Gallatin County in the first round of the Eighth Region Tournament in New Castle on Thursday night.
Just as impressive as the victory was the huge Spencer County crowd that filled up nearly a third of Henry County’s Roy Winchester Gymnasium, a wonderful old venue that seats 5,400. Opposing fans were talking about the size of Spencer County’s blue-clad crowd during pre-game warm-ups, and that crowd came in handy as the game came down to the wire with the Bears clinging to a narrow lead in the final stages of the fourth quarter.
With a narrow 43-42 lead with just over a minute remaining in the contest, Spencer County’s Trey Wyatt drove the lane for a bucket and a foul. Converting the free throw gave the Bears a 46-42 lead that they would stretch out to 48-43 following two free throws by Logan Dunbar 30 seconds later.
Gallatin County proved to be a very scrappy opponent and drained a long three-pointer to narrow the lead to 48-46 with just three seconds remaining, but Brandon Miller was fouled and calmly made his two shots to seal the victory.
Coach Jacob Barmore said it wasn’t the best his team has played this year, but said at this stage in the season, it’s all about winning and moving on.
The Bears were plagued by nine turnovers in the first half, which allowed Gallatin County to hang close when it appeared Spencer County might be able to build a big lead.
Two three-pointers by Miller in the final two minutes of the first quarter gave the Bears a 12-6 lead, but Gallatin County chipped away and managed to tie the game at 14 midway through the second period. The teams then traded three point buckets, with Spencer’s Wyatt hitting to put the Bears up by three. Another three-pointer by Ross Goodwin would extend Spencer‘s lead to six and the Bears went to the locker room with a 27-20 advantage.
The Bears looked ready to pull away from the Wildcats in the third when Miller opened the scoring with a three-pointer and then a Logan Dunbar free throw put them up by 11 early in the quarter. However turnovers hit again and Gallatin County went on a 9-0 run to close the gap to 31-29 midway through the period.
The Bears would answer by building the lead back up to six, but the 31stDistrict runners-up wouldn’t go away and six points in the final 40 seconds of the quarter evened things up at 37-37 heading into the fourth.
Logan Dunbar opened the scoring up in the fourth with a bucket underneath, then came up big on the defensive end with a block. He then hit two free throws to push the lead to 41-37 and the Bears were able to keep the lead at four until Gallatin County chipped away to make it a one-point game with under two minutes remaining.
For the game, Logan Dunbar and Wyatt led the way with 17 points each, while Miller added 11, Goodwin scored three and Chris Dunbar added two.
The Bears, who have struggled at the free throw at spots this season, were true this night, as they hit 8-11 to close out the game and tally the school’s first-ever Regional Tournament victory.
The win means the Bears will advance to the semifinals Monday night at 8 p.m. when they will square off against North Oldham, who were narrow 54-53 winners over Walton-Verona in Thursday’s second game.
Another huge Spencer County crowd is expected to fill up Henry County’s gym Monday.