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Arnold, Panthers shoot down Cougars

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By Dwane Wilder

Cumberland Gap High School’s boys turned the tables on basketball rival Campbell County Tuesday night at John R.W. Brown Gymnasium.

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The Panthers (12-7 overall) rode the shooting of sophomore guard Ben Arnold and the all-around play of senior center Timmy Ayers to a 68-54 win, which avenged a 15-point loss earlier this season on their home court.

Arnold led all scorers with 28 points in the rematch, including a pair of 3-pointers and 4 of 4 free throws. Ayers finished with 18 points and could generally be found anywhere the ball was.

Six-foot-eight senior forward Sean Chapman scored 26 points, raked down 17 rebounds and blocked three shots for the Cougars (7-9 overall), who were a little banged up coming into the game. Chapman eventually went to the bench late in the game to rest an injured foot.

Frontcourt mate Cody Malicoat, who leads Campbell County with a 20 points per game scoring average, left the game before Chapman did after a fourth quarter collision with a Cumberland Gap defender. Malicoat, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, finished with a dozen points after scoring 22 the previous night during a one-point victory at Morristown West.

The Panthers pounced on the Cougars early and led by double digits most of the first half. The margin was 15 points, 41-26, at intermission after senior forward Jeffrey Matlock tipped in a shot at the buzzer. Arnold (15 pts.), Chapman (14 pts.) and Ayers (12 pts.) had over half their points by halftime.

Campbell County made a run halfway through the second half and cut the Panthers’ lead to six, 54-48, early in the fourth quarter on a basket and pair of free throws by Malicoat and a 3-pointer from freshman sharpshooter Cory Poteet. The Cougars could get no closer, however.

Rounding out the scoring for Cumberland Gap was Mason Goad and Trae Minton with six points each for the Panthers, Matlock and John Douglas five each.

Three-point bombers Poteet and Chad Wagers finished with five points each for Campbell County, while Matt Miller, Brandon Lee and Dylan Stanfield had two each. Freshman guard Ethan Simpson did not score but dished out a team-high eight assists for the Cougars.