In Jan. 8 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
The 8-2 Lady Lakers rallied from a four-point halftime deficit last Friday to defeat the visiting Lady Hornets from Metcalfe County, 49-43, to capture their first district win of the season.
Russell County’s tough defensive pressure limited Metcalfe to just 13 second half points in the game.
It was no easy task, though, as the Lady Lakers struggled offensively in the first two quarters.
The Lady Hornets led 12-8 at the end of the first quarter and maintained a 30-26 advantage at intermission.
Russell County hit their groove in the third quarter, outscoring their opponent 11-4, and continued the momentum into the final frame.
The Lakers shot 40 percent from the field in the game while Metcalfe shot only 30 percent.
“Our players and coaching staff are pleased with our performance thus far in this early season,” said Coach Craig Pippen.
“We have made many improvements from last year. Our turnovers are down, points are up and team chemistry seems to be much better. However, we do have a lot of work to do in order to compete at a higher level.”
Pippen said his team’s defensive intensity still needs to improve, despite the second half effort.
“We continue to work on the defensive side of the ball in practice sessions emphasizing
physicality and defensive technique,” he said.
“We have had to rely on our zone defense the past two games. I would like to see us get to the point where we can play quality man defense for 32 minutes.”
Pippen said the district win over Metcalfe was a good start to district play.
Even though we played one of our poorest first halves of the season, we managed to
escape with a win.
This year’s team has found a way to win close games.”
The coach gave props to Kim Pierce, whom he said continues to improve offensively, as well as Rachael Miller, whose intensity and energy level is night and day from last year, according to Pippen.
“She has really been fun to coach these first 10 games,” he said. Pippen also said he was pleased with his bench play.
“Heather Burton has been the bright spot off the bench,” he said.
“She has rebounded well, played good defense and has limited her turnovers. What I like the most about Heather is her work ethic.”
Lindsay Ramage led the Lakers in scoring with 14 points and also grabbed 10 rebounds to give her a double-double.
Kim Pierce added 13 points on 6-10 shooting.
LeeAnn Grider scored seven for the Lady Lakers while Blair Hoover, Heather Burton and Rachael Miller each scored four apiece.
Miller also dished out seven assists and had seven rebounds in the game.
Kyla Thomas also scored three points for Russell County.
The Lady Laker coach said his team is looking forward to games this month and in February and that his team is focused on improving each day in practice, a must for district success.