In Feb. 26 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
The Russell County Lakers and Lady Lakers ended the regular season last Friday night by splitting a boy-girl doubleheader with visiting Allen County-Scottsville.
Russell County’s boys, 21-5 overall, defeated ACS 59-51 in the night’s first game. Senior Bryon Ellis led the way on Senior Night with 17 points. Juniors Robbie Bell and Adam Justice also scored double figures with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
“I felt a little bit uneasy coming in because I didn’t think we’ve played real well lately,” Coach Willie Feldhaus said. “But we played hard, shot the ball well and, for the most part, didn’t allow easy shots by them which makes me feel a little better about going into Monday night.”
Feldhaus mentioned how his team going to a 2-3 zone hampered the Patriot athletes from getting into the offensive flow of the game.
“They did not get off a lot of perimeter jump shots,” he said.
The Lakers did get into some early foul trouble but were able to curb that dilemma with its bench players.
“We got big minutes from Robbie (Bell), who has played well, and Tyler (Robertson) who came in and hit a three right at the end of the quarter,” he said. Feldhaus also lauded the play of senior Bryce Bailey, playing in his last home game, who gave good minutes of the bench defending the Patriots’ 6-9 big man down low.
“They felt his presence in there because he kept a couple of balls alive on the boards and did a real good job for us,” he said.
Also scoring for the Lakers was Bryson McFall with nine points, Zach Carney with four points, Tyler Robertson with three points and Lucas Justice with two points.
Heading into 16th district tournament play against Metcalfe County, Feldhaus said he told his team it was “one loss and out” and that Metcalfe County would be much more confident this time than the season’s two previous meetings, which were Laker wins.
In the girls game, the Lady Lakers fell behind early and lost 55-33. Russell County, 14-11 overall, was led in scoring by LeeAnn Grider with 15 points. Blair Hoover was also in double figures for the Lady Lakers with 11 points.
“Allen County-Scottsville is a very talented team,” said Coach Craig Pippen. “I felt like our kids competed and executed about as well as expected.”
Pippen said the Lady Patriots presented some tough match-ups for his team.
“They were the better team that night,” he said.
Also scoring for the Lady Lakers was Lindsay Ramage, Heather Burton and Julie Wethington with two points apiece. Amanda Cooper also had one point for Russell County.
“I feel good where we are entering the district tournament,” Pippen said. “Our team is prepared. It’s time to step up and execute what we have worked on this entire season. Our girls understand there is ‘no tomorrow’ in post-season play.
Pippen noted how he saw a sense of urgency in his team’s eyes.
“I think they are ready for the challenge that lies ahead,” he said. “ This is anybody’s tournament. With the parity in our district, the winner will be the team that plays with confidence and competes to the end.”