In Dec. 3 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
Despite falling behind 17-9 to start the game, Willie Feldhaus' Russell County Lakers battled back to defeat the Lincoln County Patriots 61-49 in their season opener Tuesday night at Lincoln County High School.
“Truthfully, I thought we played 20 of 32 minutes really well,” Feldhaus said. “The first six minutes of the game were bad and the last six minutes of the game were bad.”
The Lakers, who started five seniors, used a 20-3 run in the second quarter to take the lead and didn't fall behind again.
The Laker coach cited several areas of improvement for his team, and with it being early on, his club will have time to make those changes.
“With a senior-laden team some of those things need to be cleaned up pretty quick,” he said.
Feldhaus said he was upset with the spacing his team showed on offense throughout the game.
“I think we can create more shots off our special calls,” he said. “A lot of our points came off one-on-one stuff, and that is okay because we got some kids that can take people off the dribble.”
On the defensive side of the ball, he said his team would need to improved defending the screen plays out on the floor.
Feldhaus was pleased with his team's rebounding margin of 10, 31-21, despite being smaller than the Patriots. He hinted his team's aggressiveness helped them on the boards.
Three Laker seniors scored in double figures, led by Robbie Bell with 17 points, five rebounds and three steals. Bryson McFall scored 12 points and Adam Justice tallied 10 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Freshman Tyler Robertson provided a spark off the bench, scoring nine points and senior big man Zach Carney scored eight points and snagging seven rebounds.
Senior Lucas Justice and sophomore Hunter Best also score a basket each and senior Kyle Burchett scored one point.
For the game, Russell County shot the ball well from the field, hitting 46 percent of their shots while holding Lincoln County to 42 percent shooting.
The Lakers managed to turn the ball over only 11 times in the game while forcing the Patriots to commit 18 turnovers, scoring 14 points off Lincoln County turnovers.
The Patriots were led in scoring by junior Zach Hill with 21 points. Senior Matt Cooper also was in double figures with 12 points for Coach Jeff Jackson's club.
“I think it comes down to a mental thing at the start of the ballgame,” Feldhaus said.
“We need our kids to understand that people are coming after us and that people aren't going to lay down.”
Feldhaus said he told his team following the game to appreciate the win and keep working hard in practice.
“We've got a lot of time to improve and I think we'll do it fairly quick,” he said.
The Lakers travel to Casey County High School Thursday night for a rival matchup against the Casey County Rebels.