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They made a game of it, but the Spencer County Bears were not able to keep pace with Collins as the host Titans prevailed 62-44 in the opening round of the 30th District Tournament.
Coach Jacob Barmore had been preaching defense to his squad over the past few weeks, hoping to keep opponents in the 50s. His squad did slow the pace and keep the score low, but not enough to mount the upset of the topped ranked team in the 8th region.
The Titans opened up with a three pointer but Spencer County’s Brandon Smith drove for a layup, fellow senior Bridger Knotts converted a rebound into a bucket, and Miller scored again to give the Bears an early 6-5 lead. An Alex Dennis three-pointer reclaimed the lead momentarily for the Bears at 11-10, but the Titans scored the last five points of the quarter to go up 15-11.
Collins quickly built their lead to 19-11, but the Bears weren’t about to fold. Chris Dunbar scored on a putback and the Bears managed to answer every Collins score the rest of the quarter. They left the floor at half time still trailing by only five points.
Optimism remained for the Bears throughout most of the third quarter. Brennan Smith hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to 28-24 and the margin remained close. Dunbar went to work on the inside and became the go-to guy for the Bears to keep his squad in the game. His free-throw with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter made it 36-30 and the Bear faithful were still holding on to hope.
The quarter ended badly however as the Titans went on a 7-2 run and pushed their lead to 11 at 43-32. Still, the Bears kept clawing. Another three-pointer by Smith at the half-way mark of the final frame cut the lead back to six at 47-41, but then Collins answered with a three that sparked a 16-3 run to end the game and send the Bears home.
For the game, Dunbar led the way with 19 points with Smith and Bridger Knotts both chipping in with six. Miller added five, Dennis had four and Trent Shields and Cameron Fitts both scored two.
Spencer County ended its season with a 15-17 record and said goodbye to seven seniors: Brandon Miller, a five year varsity player and Chris Dunbar, both of whom achieved 1,000 points in their careers. Also playing in the final games were seniors Mikelle Carpenter, Trent Shields, Alex Dennis, Bridger Knotts and Brennan Smith.