In Dec. 10 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
The Russell County Lakers torched the homestanding Somerset Briar Jumpers 77-58 on Tuesday night, shooting 59 percent from the field for the game and 71 percent in the second half to move to 4-0 on the young season.
The Lakers, coming off a weekend victory over North Laurel in the Wierwille Classic in Berea, were led in scoring by senior Robbie Bell with 25 points on eight of 12 shooting. Bell also tallied four steals in the win.
"Robbie likes to score," said Laker head coach Willie Feldhaus. "I tell my kids all the time I love basketball players who like to score and who can score."
Feldhaus said Bell was in a select group of high school players who could finish around the basket the way he can, using his quickness and agility to his advantage.
Joining Bell in double figures was senior Zach Carney with 15 points and five rebounds and senior Adam Justice with 11 points.
"We shot the ball well, but the thing I'm most encouraged about, we got a lead, which we have in the first three games of the year, and we maintained a pretty good margin and knocked some free throws down," he said.
Senior Lucas Justice connected on all seven of his free throw attempts and finished the game with nine points while freshman Tyler Robertson came off the bench to pour in seven points and five rebounds.
Senior Bryson McFall hit two three-point baskets on the night and finished with six points and three assists. Seniors Kyle Burchett and Jordan Best also ended the game with two points each.
Feldhaus lauded his team's effort saying the 86 percent foul shooting and the nearly 60 percent field goal percentage was pleasing to him and his staff of Shawn Coffey and Daniel Johnson.
"When you have those percentages, your defense would have to be pretty bad not to give yourself a good chance to win," he said.
Russell County also held Somerset to 42 percent shooting on the night and forced the Briar Jumpers to commit 14 turnovers to the Lakers' nine.
The Lakers were outrebounded by the Jumpers by six, 30-24, but Feldhaus acknowledged the size differential played a role in that statistic. Somerset had several players, including big man Clayton Stringer with five boards, that played well in that department.
Despite being smaller physically, Russell County was able to score 46 points in the paint to Somerset's 24, many times on dumpoffs to Laker big men from the guards.
Somerset was led in scoring by sophomore D.J. Townsend with 22 points. Stringer finished with 14 while senior Josh Troxtle added 11.
"I'll be very honest, I'm happy with everything we did," Feldhaus said. "We played a lot of zone (defense) which we typically don't do but the kids responded well."
Russell County did falter in the junior varsity game, falling to Somerset 45-35. Sophomores Hunter Best and Blake Aaron led the Lakers in scoring with nine each. Junior Martin Cross had six, Junior Taylor Hutchison had five, junior Logan Smith had four and freshman Barton Mann had two points in the game.
Russell County's undefeated varsity squad is back in action this Friday night at 7 p.m. as they host Warren East at Laker gym in the season's first home game.