The buildup to last Friday night’s Paintsville at Johnson Central matchup did not disappoint as the heat on the floor for the pregame matched the heat inside the Golden Eagles gymansium. It’s no secret these two are bitter rivals. No matter the sport. It’s always the most attended game in Johnson County. This time, the Paintsville Tigers came away with a big road win as they defeated the Golden Eagles 73-54 in front of a sellout crowd.
The game started off tense with a personal foul followed by a double technical. Nick Keeton put the Tigers on the board first, with 7:04 to play in the opening quarter to give Paintsville an early 2-0 lead. The Eagles’ Jacob Rice quickley knotted it back at two with 6:22 to play in the frame. The Tigers’ Seth Williams extended the Tiger lead to 7-2 later in the quarter, with a three pointer at the 4:55 mark in the first. Paintsville would lead 10-8 after one period of play.
Johnson Central tied the game almost immediately to open the second period of play on a drive by Cory Vanhoose.
The second quarter was back-and-forth the whole way with Central taking its first lead of the game with 7:22 to go before the break on a Bryson Hackney three pointer. That lead was short lived as Tiger Williams hit back-to-back three pointers with just over five minutes to play to put Paintsville up 20-15 just before the break. However, the Golden Eagles battled back to take a four-point lead into the locker room at 24-20.
Johnson Central came out of the locker room looking to build on their momentum to close the first half, but their shooting arms went cold, as the Eagles scored only 12 points for the entire third period. Paintsville would hold a 44-36 lead heading into the final quarter of play.
The Tigers started to pull away in the final period. They got a big fourth quarter from both Williams and Braxton Tharp. Tharp nailed two early three pointers to start the fourth, at the 6:52 and 6:04 marks to extend the Tiger lead to 52-36. Williams scored 12 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter alone. The Golden Eagles tried to keep it close but it wasn’t enough as Paintsville went on for the 73-54 road win.
Paintsville’s Williams led all scorers with 27 points and five rebounds. He was 10 for 15 from the floor and was also five for eight from behind the arc on the night. Braxton Tharp added 15 points and three rebounds. He was three for five from behind the arc. Keeton chipped in a double-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds in the win. Colby Fugate added 10 points and six rebounds.
Cory Vanhoose led Johnson Central in scoring with 22 points and three rebounds. Jacob Rice recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. John King and Bryson Hackney each added seven points a piece. Isiah May contributed four points in the loss.
Paintsville (10-2, 3-0 district) is scheduled to visit Central Hardin at 4:00 p.m. Saturday.
Johnson Central (10-2, 0-1) is scheduled to visit 57th District rival Sheldon Clark at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.