In Dec. 10 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
Coach Craig Pippen's Lady Lakers passed their first road test of the season on Monday night, slipping past McCreary Central, 40-36, in Whitley City to go to 2-0 on the season.
"Getting our first win on the road out of region is big," Pippen said. "McCreary Central is a tough place to play."
The Lady Laker coach said his team had open looks all game long but only managed to shoot a "dismal" 19 percent from 3-point land.
"The shots were there but we just didn't have anybody on the floor to step up and hit a few," he said. "Our defense was much better giving up just 36 points and forcing 17 turnovers."
Pippen said the Lady Lakers extended their man defense in the second half and forced the Lady Raiders to rush their shots and make key turnovers down the stretch.
"Kim Pierce entered the game in the second half and hit three 3-pointers and another basket to help us go ahead with just a little under three minutes left in the game," Pippen said.
With the game on the line, the Lady Lakers managed to do the three things teams must do to win close games, according to Pippen.
"We hit our free throws, we didn't turn the ball over with only 10 for the game and we played good defense without fouling," he said. McCreary Central only shot two free throws the entire game.
Senior Kim Pierce and freshman LeeAnn Grider led Russell County in scoring with 13 points apiece while junior Lindsay Ramage tallied six points.
Freshman Julie Wethington scored five points, senior Rachael Miller scored two points and Regan Helm scored one point in the game. Blair Hoover, Amanda Cooper and Heather Burton all played but did not score.
"This was a big win for us simply because we found a way to win a game on the road in which we trailed the entire game," Pippen said. "Kim Pierce stepped up huge for us and she looks better and better each day."
Pippen said his senior guard is very close to being back 100 percent following a mid-season ACL injury last season.
"She makes us much quicker on the floor and her leadership goes without mention," he said. "It's good to have her back in true form."
The Lady Lakers will return to action on Saturday at Laker Gym as they host the annual Bankers' Hardwood Classic. The Lady Lakers will tip-off at 6:45 p.m.