Bobcats fend off Indians


FRANKLIN FURNACE — The Green Bobcats boys basketball team faced another tough test on Friday night, finding themselves with a home SOC I win over visiting Western despite a late Indian push.

Green led by as many as 15 in the first half of its 63-54 victory, as it took a 36-25 lead into halftime.

Western cut the Bobcat lead to as few as four points twice in the second half, after taking the third frame 17-10, but Coach J.D. King’s team responded.

The Bobcats sank 11-of-15 free throws in the fourth quarter, taking the period 17-12 — and ultimately bringing home the nine-point win in the stretch run.

“It’s almost a running joke that we like being tested,” King said. “You hope that the dividends start to pay off when you get towards the end of the league race, in the tournaments, that you’re ready for those moments. If you’ve never been in a tight ball game, you don’t know how to handle it. We’ve been tested and been able to finish down the stretch lately.”

Green was led in scoring by senior Levi Sampson’s game-high 24 points, followed by senior Gabe McBee’s 16 points.

“Good to see him back in the high scoring column,” King said, of Sampson. “Lot of people perceive that if you stop him, you stop us. We just went through a three-game stretch in our league schedule where we found ways to win even though he was less than his scoring average. Good to see him back at that tonight.”

McBee scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half, helping the Bobcats build their 11-point lead at the break.

Junior Abe McBee scored 12 points, nine of which came in the second half, while freshman Jon Knapp added eight (including a team-best two three-pointers).

“We always give Gabe the toughest defensive assignment, and he’s been phenomenal this year. He’s been light’s out and he did a great job on Carter. It was good to see him contribute early and often, play both ways,” King said. “Abe’s steady for us, our ballhandler and vocal leader on the court. He keeps doing what we expect of him.”

As of Friday’s SOC I results, the Bobcats (11-4, 8-0 SOC I) keep their two-game lead over second-place Notre Dame (8-5, 5-2 SOC I).

The two teams vying for the top spot in the league race will meet again later this month in Portsmouth on Jan. 31.

Friday’s stepping stone of sweeping the defending league co-champion Indians was one Green needed in its run for the program’s first SOC I title since the 2010-11 season.

“We have a lot of respect for those guys, we knew they weren’t going to quit,” King said, of facing Western. “We respect their coaching staff and those kids play hard. What they did last year is kind of a model for what we want to do — win the league, go on a deep tournament run, and they do it the right way. We knew we were going to get their best shot. Proud of that our guys weathered the storm. You’ve got to find ways to protect home court and we keep doing that.”



Western 11 14 17 12 — 54

Green 18 18 10 17 — 63

Western (7-7, 4-3 SOC I): Daniel Rodriguez 1 0-0 2, Logan Lightle 1 0-0 3, Drew Haggy 9 1-2 22, Kam Janes 1 0-0 2, Colt Henderson 2 0-0 5, Cutter Clay 0 0-0 0, Chase Carter 5 3-5 16, Zach Teed 2 0-0 4; TOTALS: 21 4-9 54; Three-point field goals: 8 (Chase Carter and Drew Haggy 3 apiece, Colt Henderson and Logan Lightle 1 apiece)

Green (11-4, 8-0 SOC I): Levi Blevins 0 2-2 2, Levi Sampson 8 8-13 24, Jon Knapp 3 1-2 9, Abe McBee 3 5-6 12, Levi Waddell 0 0-0 0, Gabe McBee 5 5-6 16, Landon Kimbler 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 19 21-29 63; Three-point field goals: 4 (Jon Knapp 2, Abe McBee and Gabe McBee 1 apiece)

Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

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