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For three quarters, Spencer County competed toe to toe with one of the hottest teams from the 7th region, but Louisville Atherton used a huge lead they built in the first quarter to leave Taylorsville with a 86-70 win over the young Bears Friday night.
“This is one of those games that was much closer than the score indicated. Atherton is a great team and will probably contend for the 7th region title, for us to play them that close showed a lot of heart and improvement,” said head coach Jacob Barmore.
The Bears fell behind and Atherton took advantage of their quickness and pressure defense to quickly build a 20-10 lead with just under three minutes left in the first quarter. Spencer County’s Logan Dunbar was able to battle underneath for rebounds and putbacks to keep the Bears in it, but by the end of the first frame, the Bears were looking at a 30-17 deficit.
Trey Wyatt knocked down a three pointer and then followed with two free throws, but the Atherton lead quickly ballooned up to 44-25 midway through the second quarter. But Spencer County then started playing better defense and outscored the Rebels 10-4 to end the half, trailing at the break 50-35.
“When we started to take charges and give up our bodies on defense, the game changed,” said Barmore.
In the second half, Spencer County worked hard to prevent any offensive runs by Atherton, and actually began to chip away at the lead. A Josh Sweeney layup cut the deficit to 10 at 52-42 but Atherton answered quickly, but the Bears were able to keep at ten by the end of the quarter.
Atherton was able to pick up some easy baskets late in the game to push the margin back out, but overall, Barmore said he was pleased with his team’s performance.
“While we don’t have the wnis to show it, I think our effort against Atherton is evidence of major improvement as a team,” he said.
On a night where the Bears were missing two starters because of illness and injury, Barmore said Sweeney, Stetson Baird and Konner Barlow “all stepped up and played solid for us.”
But as has been the case most of the season, much of the scoring load fell on the due of Dunbar and Wyatt. Dunbar finished with 32 points and 22 rebounds.
“That was one of the best individual efforts I have been able to witness as a coach,” said Barmore. “We need him to work that hard on the boards every night to have a chance to win.
Wyatt added 23 for the Bears and Barlow said that combination is much like UK’s due of Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks. “They both have been averaging about 20 per game in the last stretch.”
For the game, Sweeney added five points, Brian Thacker scored four and Baird and Barlow each added three.
Spencer County, now 5-16 on the year, was scheduled to play Anderson County on Tuesday night, but that game was postponed because of the weather. They are now slated to travel to Bullitt Central on Friday night and will be off until February 10th when they welcome in Shelby County.