Polar Bears hoping to pull off upset

The Bracken County boys’ basketball team won only four games in the regular season, but despite that, they fully expected to be in the 10th Region Tournament.

A 65-62 overtime win against St. Patrick in the 39th District semifinals got the Polar Bears there. Now they don’t want to be satisfied with just making it.

“I think that’s a hard part of coaching. I kind of compare it to winning the Class A. It’s hard to come off and get back to business. We really, really wanted to win the district. At the end of the day it didn’t work out, but at the end of day we’re one of the last eight standing at the end of year,” said Bracken County coach Jason Hinson. “We were wrote off by a lot of people and rightfully so, but we started playing our best basketball at the right time. To be honest with you, and not to take anything from St. Pat, but we fully expected to win that game and our kids fully expected to win that game.”

A volleyball-style tip from Tad Fisher with 0.2 seconds left in regulation forced overtime against the Saints, where the Polar Bears prevailed. Mason County beat them in the championship game, 74-42.

Making it was cause for Bracken County to celebrate, but they’d be up for a tough task no matter who they played – either Pendleton County, Campbell County or George Rogers Clark. On Saturday, they drew the Cardinals, who pulled away from the Polar Bears on Feb. 10, 84-33, after playing close through the first half.

“I think the motivation from us comes from a quarter and a half of basketball with Clark at Clark just a few weeks ago,” said Hinson.

“I think not being surprise and not being overwhelmed at the beginning will be a big help. We have a huge task at hand, but at the end of day it was pick your poison. Going in we knew it was going to be one of those teams,” added Hinson. “At the end of the day it was GRC and we’ll go to work and work on things we did poorly late in the second quarter.”

In the previous meeting between the two, Bracken County only trailed by six at the end of the first quarter, but a 23-point second quarter propelled the Cardinals to victory. George Rogers Clark shot over 58 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc, knocking down 11 3-pointers.

“They hit a ton of shots against us last time,” said Hinson. “We get them off their home court and hope we can go in there and battle and compete.”

The length, quickness and pressure of the Cardinals has proved troublesome for several teams this season, so Hinson is hoping they can play smart and take care of the basketball to keep it close.

“We have to be patient and we have to be smart. That’s how you keep yourself in the game – by playing smart. It’s going to be a great challenge for us to be able to break the pressure when they run and jump us,” said Hinson.

“The thing about basketball is teams that run and jump you give you a chance to get layups and high percentage shots. If don’t make those you’re in trouble. We have to be a little more patient, smarter and we’ve got to rebound the ball. It’s so crucial to rebound the basketball and rebound it well. Whether it be offensively or defensively, we’ve got to be in the 40s. Rebounding is a huge part that people seem to forget about.”

The Polar Bears had 16 rebounds in the last meeting and nobody had over five individually. Seven Bracken County players reached the scoring column – Trey Deaton, Tad Fisher, Tanner Fisher, Cole Bishop, Travis Tucker, Jhace Cummins and Jard Zornes – but none hit double digits.

They’ll also look to Mason Tucker, who didn’t play much when the two teams met before. The junior scored a team-high 19 points against St. Patrick in the district semifinals. They’ll need him, along with everybody else, to play their best to come away with the upset.

“When we’re playing our best basketball it’s because everybody is playing well, not only Mason, but everybody is playing well,” said Hinson. “I think that sums up our team a lot. We need everybody playing well to be successful.”

A win on Wednesday would put them in a Monday semifinal against the winner of Wednesday’s second quarterfinal between Harrison County and Campbell County, the team that ended Bracken County’s season in the 10th Region semifinals last year.

But first, the Polar Bears know they’ll have to pull off a win in a game that many won’t give them a chance in.

And they’re excited for that chance.

“The ultimate thing is we’re pumped to be playing and pumped to be in the final eight. There are a lot of teams not playing,” said Hinson. “To still be playing is special and we’re excited to get back to work.”

NO.; NAME; HEIGHT; POS.; GRADE

1; Jhace Cummins; 5-8; G; So.

2; Kason Hinson; 6-0; G; 8th

3; Trey Deaton; 6-3; F; Sr.

4; Jard Zornes; 6-2; F; So.

10; Tanner Fisher; 6-0; G; Sr.

11; Mason Tucker; 5-6; G; Jr.

13; Johnny Bell; 5-9; G; Fr.

15; Cole Bishop; 6-4; C; Sr.

21; Nathan Jefferson; 5′ 10″; G; Fr.

22; Tad Fisher; 5-11; G; Jr.

23; Travis Tucker; 6-2; F; Jr.

31; Mason McClanahan; 5-5; G; Fr.

32; Tanner Horn; 5-10; F; Fr.

34; Collin Jefferson; 5-8; F; Jr.

Head Coach: Jason Hinson

Assistants: Joey Crouch, Brad Riley

Athletic Director: Daniel Fisher

Statistician: J.T. Teegarden

DATE; OPPONENT; SITE; RESULT

Nov. 28; Pendleton County; away; (L) 79-36

Nov. 30; Gallatin County; away; (L) 72-31

Dec. 1; Williamstown; home; (W) 96-70

Dec. 5; Robertson County; away; (L) 91-56

Dec. 9; Western Hills; at Robertson County; (L) 46-30

Robertson County Adidas Classic

Dec. 12; Mason County*; home; (L) 69-45

Dec. 15; Bishop Brossart; home; (L) 58-32

Dec. 18; Lewis County; away; (L) 50-33

Dec. 19; Paris; home; (L) 68-44

Dec. 22; Ripley, OH; home; (L) 73-69

Dec. 27; Calvary Christian; home; (L) 67-62

JBR/Straightedge Construction Holiday Tournament

Dec. 28; Bellevue; home; (L) 69-51

JBR/Straightedge Construction Holiday Tournament

Dec. 29; Lewis County; home; (W) 75-51

JBR/Straightedge Construction Holiday Tournament

Jan. 6; Paris; at Nicholas County; (L) 63-36

10th Region All “A” Classic

Jan. 19; Nicholas County; away; (L) 59-46

Jan. 20; Dayton; home; (W) 65-51

Jan. 23; Harrison County; home; (L) 71-42

Jan. 25; Bath County; home; (L) 62-51

Jan. 26; Bourbon County; away; (L) 86-67

Jan. 29; Montgomery County; away; (L) 72-69

Jan. 31; Mason County; away; (L) 84-56

Feb. 2; Pendleton County; home; (L) 80-49

Feb. 8; Fleming County; home; (L) 62-56

Feb. 10; George Rogers Clark; away; (L) 84-33

Feb. 12; Williamstown; away; (L) 60-59

Feb. 13; Robertson County; home; (L) 71-60

Feb. 16; West Carter; home; (W) 68-56

Feb. 20; St. Patrick; Mason County; (W) 65-62 (OT)

39th District Semifinals

Feb. 22; Mason County; at Mason County; (L) 74-42

39th District Championship

Feb. 28; George Rogers Clark; at Mason County; 6 p.m.

10th Region Quarterfinals

(According to statistics submitted by 2/25/18)

POINTS FOR: 1,524

POINTS ALLOWED: 1,960

POINTS PER GAME: 52.6

POINTS ALLOWED PER GAME: 67.6

FIELD GOAL %: 40.4

3-POINT %: 28.1

FREE THROW %: 58

REBOUNDS: 725

REBOUNDS PER GAME: 25