In Jan. 7 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
After falling to Shelby County in their home holiday tournament, the 10-1 Russell County Lakers bounced back to take a district road game from 6-8 Metcalfe County on Saturday night, winning 51-47 in a hard fought battle.
In what Laker coach Willie Feldhaus called a “nailbiter” down the stretch, Russell County managed to maintain their poise, knocking down several key free throws in the game's final minute.
“Coming over here and talking to my assistant coaches, we expected a very good game,” Feldhaus said after win. “Metcalfe is a very good team and it was a tough matchup for us especially with the two big kids (6-8 twins Grant and Russell Kindred) inside.”
He also lauded the play of the Hornet guards as well as Jesse Jones, Dylan Harris and Trevor Meredith combined for 18 points in the game. The Kindred twins combined for 29 points and 20 rebounds.
The Lakers only managed one two-point field goal in the first half of play, something that surprised Feldhaus at the intermission as the Lakers held a 21-15 lead.
With the game becoming emotional for both sides at times, Feldhaus said he didn't want his team to suffer from a “Christmas tournament hangover” after playing three games in three days less than a week earlier.
The Lakers thwarted off a second half comeback attempt by the Hornets and saw freshman Tyler Robertson hit four big three-point baskets in the game to help secure the victory.
“He showed so much poise for a freshman and he expects so much from himself,” Feldhaus said.
He said Robertson hitting the four first half three-pointers in a row was no fluke but was expected from both he and Robertson himself.
The Lakers hit 34 percent of their shots in the game and scored 13 points off of Metcalfe's 15 turnovers whereas the Lakers only committed three on the night.
Senior Robbie Bell led the Lakers in scoring, shooting 50 percent from the field and tallying 23 points. Robertson was next in scoring for Russell County with 16 points while Adam Justice scored five and Lucas Justice scored four points. Point guard Bryson McFall ended with three points and four assists and senior Zach Carney led the team in steals with three.
Earlier in the week Russell County participated in the Shelby County Rocket Invitational, defeating North Hardin 62-43 and Jeffersonville, Ind. 51-48 before falling for the first time this season to host Shelby County 45-35 in the title game.
“It was good for our kids,” Feldhaus said. “We played three really good basketball teams.”
But at 10-1 Russell County has secured themselves as one of the 4th region's top teams in 2010.