Hardin, Pope advance at GEC
Cougars edge Carrier Mills; Pirates top Crab Orchard Tuesday night

HARRISBURG - Hardin County coach Ricky Williams understands that the Cougars will only go as far as his young guards Jamie Fowler and Ryan Frailey will carry them.

On Tuesday night, they did not disappoint their fans, their coach or anyone else in the gym; except for maybe the Carrier Mills contingent.

Taking turns lighting up the scoreboard, Fowler and Frailey combined for 50 points in Hardin County's 59-55 win over the Wildcats in the opening round of the Greater Egyptian Conference tournament.

The win puts Hardin County (8-10) in the semifinals against Galatia, the top seed who along with second seeded Gallatin County drew a first round bye in the single elimination event.

"I tell them (Fowler and Frailey) that they have to run this team and control this team. They have to make sure that the other guys are doing their job," said Hardin County coach Ricky Williams. "We played better help defense in the second half, especially on those two Mitchell kids. I talked at halftime about that."

Frailey, who takes on much of the distribution chores for the Cougars, finished with 23-points.
Fowler, on the other hand, was a man possessed. He scored from all over the court and finished with a game-high 27 in a contest that featured 13 lead changes.

The Mitchell brothers tried to keep pace.

Jeremiah Mitchell finished with 15-point while sibling Nathaniel ended up with 13.

Teammate Eli Morgan chipped in another 12-points to the total.

However on this night, Carrier Mills had one glaring weakness that doomed the Wildcats' chances of advancement in this GEC tourney.

The guys wearing Purple and Gold were a dismal 6-of-15 from the free throw line.

On the other side of the court, Hardin County was shooting their usual high percentage of free ones.

HC made 9-of-12 on the night, including 8-of-10 from Fowler.

When the game was on the line in the fourth quarter, Fowler hit 4-of-5 free throws to help put away CM.

"I don't know what it is about us, but in the last seconds of ballgames, we have a hard time keeping people from scoring," said coach Mark Motsinger. "I felt like tonight we didn't get the kind of team play that we needed to win games like this. We just beat them last week at Norris City and I knew it was going to be more difficult to beat them again."

With Frailey scoring six-straight points to open the game, the Cougars opened up to a 6-3 lead with just a minute and a half gone in the contest.

However the Mitchell brothers showed early that they were going to be a force in the paint in this game.

After Nathaniel, the 6-foot-3 sophomore who was fouled while scoring in the lane, missed his free throw attempt his brother Jeremiah grabbed the rebound and scored to cut the Hardin County lead to 8-7.

But Fowler had begun his own scoring run just before the Mitchell basket.

Two separate baseline drives resulted in points, one on a lay in and another two points from the line following a J. Mitchell foul.

He followed that up with a steal and a fast break lay in to extend the Cougars advantage to 15-9 with 3:16 to play in the opening quarter.

But Carrier Mills battled back before the end of the quarter to take the lead.

CM scored the games next eight points, highlighted by a 3-pointer from Eli Morgan and a score in the lane by Jeremiah Mitchell on a pass from his brother.

That basket put the Wildcats back in front 17-15.

The quarter ended with Fowler hitting his first 3-pointer of the game followed by a N. Mitchell lay in to end a hectic first period at 19-18 HC.

Both teams scored 11-points in the second quarter with neither team getting more than a three point advantage.

Fowler and Frailey did manage to get some other players involved in the scoring.

John Farler and Tyler Jennings both scored in the second quarter.

Farler hit a mid-range jumper from near the free throw line while Jennings scored on a short bank shot in the lane on back-to-back offensive trips to give the Cougars a 28-25 lead with 2:57 before halftime.

Nathaniel Mitchell and Nathan Taborn scored consecutive baskets to briefly give the lead back to CM at 29-28.

But Frailey struck again just before intermission by scoring on a nice move down the left baseline. His bucket made the score 30-29 Hardin County at the break.

Carrier Mills was the first team in the second half to gain some scoring separation.

Capitalizing on Hardin County's sudden coldness from the field, the Wildcats scored eight straight points after a Frailey basket gave the Cougars a 32-29 lead.

A J. Mitchell basket, a 3-pointer by Morgan and a fast break lay in by Taborn gave the 'Cats a 37-32 spread.

During that run, HC missed eight consecutive field goal attempts.

However the Cougars remained calm and quickly cut back into the lead before the quarter ended by staying with their game plan of getting the ball to Fowler and Frailey.

"These kids I have had since junior high and they never give up in games. They can be 30 points down and they will still be out there battling," added Williams, who knows his team's come back abilities. "That is what I love about them. They don't give up."

Trailing 46-40 with just a few seconds remaining in the quarter, Frailey took an inbounds pass on the right side and in one motion drained a 3-pointer from the right wing just before the buzzer to cut the Carrier Mills advantage to 46-43.

"I think that shot (3-pointer to end the third quarter by Frailey) was the turning point in the game," said Coach Williams. "In the first half Fowler was trying to do too much and force some things. I told him that you could score without forcing shots. The plays we run are designated for him, Frailey and Cowsert."

Hardin County got the lead back for good when Frailey scored his final points of the game on yet another baseline drive to put his team back on top 51-49 with 4:10 remaining.

Fowler connected again a minute later driving passed the porous CM defense.

Carrier Mills got a big 3-pointer by Jeff Gulley to close the gap to just 55-54 with 1:53 to go.

However when the Wildcats needed a basket to tie the game in the final minute, coach Motsinger's team missed three straight attempts on one possession.

After Morgan and Taborn missed on 3-point shots, Morgan was called for a foul going for a rebound with :05.6 remaining.

Fowler's two made free throws put the game out of reach as his Cougars advanced to the semifinals.
"We made our free throws tonight. We have shot 83 percent from the line for the season and we needed them tonight," added Williams, who is looking forward at another crack at Galatia on Thursday night. "To beat Galatia we will have to not have any turnovers and shoot well."

Galatia won the first game between the two schools 78-65 back on January 11th at Hardin County.

After Fowler and Frailey's 50-points, the Cougars had four points from Farler, three from Tyler Cowsert and two from Jennings.

Both teams were nearly identical in shooting from the field.

HC was 23-of-58 (40 percent) while CM finished 22-of-58 (38 percent).

However the free throw line was the difference maker on this night for CM.

Carrier Mills
Hardin County

Carrier Mills (55) - Gulley 2 2 2-4 12, Morgan 0 2 0-0 6, J. Mitchell 6 0 3-6 15, N. Mitchell 6 0 1-3 13, Taborn 3 1 0-0 9, Feazel 0 0 0-2 0.
2FG-17, 3FG-5, FT-6-15, PF-13.

Hardin County (59) - J. Fowler 5 3 8-10 27, Frailey 10 1 0-0 23, T. Cowsert 1 0 1-2 3, Spivey 0 0 0-0 0, Farler 2 0 0-0 4, Jennings 1 0 0-0 2.
2FG-19, 3FG-4, FT-9-12, PF-11.
Fouled Out - Farler, Hardin County.
Technical Fouls - None.

Michael Broadway hit for a career high 39-points as the Pirates upended Crab Orchard in the other first round match up.

The 6-foot-6 senior hit four 3-pointers in the final quarter to send his club into a meeting with Gallatin County on Thursday night.

His performance helped offset Crab Orchard's Ray and Tommy Kissing, who finished with 26 and 20 points respectively.

Junior Dustin Daugherty added 14 for Pope Co. who are now 4-11 on the season.

The loss dropped Crab Orchard to 10-9.

The Trojans had their own free throw shooting problems, hitting just 2-of-8 for the evening.

Pope County
Crab Orchard

Pope County (67) - Broadway 10 5 4-4 39, Morse 2 0 0-0 4, Bramlet 2 1 0-0 7, Miller 0 1 0-0 3, Daugherty 7 0 0-0 14.
2FG-21, 3FG-7, FT-4-4, PF-10.

Crab Orchard (65) - McCree 0 0 0-0 0, T. Kissing 5 3 1-4 20, Boester 3 0 0-2 6, Holmes 0 1 0-0 3, R. Kissing 10 2 0-0 26, Morris 0 0 0-0 0, Duty 0 3 1-2 10.
2FG-18, 3FG-9, FT-2-8, PF-13.
Fouled Out - None.
Technical Fouls - None.