In Dec. 24 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
After yet another superb shooting night, the Russell County Lakers defeated the homestanding Clinton County Bulldogs 70-58 on Thursday in their first district matchup to move to 7-0 on the season.
Led by senior Lucas Justice's double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds, the Lakers's hot shooting was no match for the experienced Bulldog group led by coach Todd Messer.
"I'm proud of our kids," said Laker head coach Willie Feldhaus. "This is probably one of the tougher environments to play in in high school basketball."
Feldhaus lauded Clinton County, who dropped to 4-2, 1-2 in district play on the season, for their physical toughness.
"They may not have a lot of bulk but even their perimeter kids absolutely get after you," he said. "Our kids responded and shot the ball well tonight and was able to hang on there at the end."
Russell County had four other players in double figures as well. Both senior Zach Carney and freshman Tyler Robertson ended the game with 13 points each while seniors Robbie Bell and Bryson McFall had 10 points apiece. Senior Adam Justice also tossed in eight points for the Lakers.
The Laker defense held Clinton County to just 40 percent shooting from the field while shooting 65 percent themselves.
The Bulldogs refused to go away though, outscoring the Lakers 25-19 in the fourth quarter, but was just unable to put together a serious run down the stretch.
"They have a lot of kids playing with varsity experience and, believe me, they will be a factor coming down the stretch," Feldhaus said of the Bulldogs.
Leading the way for Clinton County was senior Storm Burchett with 22 points. James Dyer also had 14 points for the Bulldogs, with most of those coming in the first quarter of play.
Russell County scored 16 points off of 11 Bulldog turnovers and that proved to be key to the Laker victory in the game.
The Lakers will be off until after Christmas when they play North Hardin in the Shelby County Christmas Classic.