In Jan. 7 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
The Greenwood Gators (13-3) outscored the Russell County Lakers (10-2) 23-13 in the fourth quarter and defeated the Lakers on Tuesday night at Greenwood High School, 54-51.
Russell County found themselves up nine points late in the game but Gator Dee Anderson big final frame lifted the homestanding Gators to a fourth region win in a game of two region heavyweights.
Anderson’s 25 points led all scorers while senior Bryson McFall led the Lakers in scoring with 12 points.
“It is disappointing when you play the number of seniors we do,” Laker coach Willie Feldhaus said of the defeat.
“I think we missed some shots inside we needed to deliver on and I know we missed some free throws and we had some untimely turnovers but the bottom line is it came time to win a ballgame and Dee Anderson said ‘I’m going to win it.’”
Feldhaus said the Gator leader was a main reason in why his team faltered late in the game.
“He was a man for them going down the stretch,” he said.
The Lakers shot just 38 percent from the field for the game and hit only five of 22 shots in the second half after shooting 52 percent in the first half of play.
Feldhaus said his team rushed themselves late in the fourth quarter, much like they did in their other loss of the season at Shelby County last week.
“We didn’t learn from our mistake,” he said. He said his team would have to have patience going down the stretch of ballgames or other instances like the Greenwood and Shelby County games would occur.
Also scoring for Russell County was Robbie Bell with 11 points and seven rebounds, both Zach Carney and Tyler Robertson with seven points, Lucas Justice with six points, both Adam Justice and Kyle Burchett with three points and Martin Cross with two points. Jordan Best also played well off the bench for the Lakers but did not score.
Greenwood finished the night shooting 42 percent from the field and outscored Russell County in the second half, 33-21.
Russell County, undefeated in district play at 2-0, hosts district opponent Cumberland County on Friday.
“It is another test for us,” he said. “We’ll have to show some improvement as a ball team.”
But the Laker coach prided himself on his team’s current 10-2 record after playing only two home games thus far.
“We can be proud of that even though one slipped away tonight,” he said.
He said playing at home would help give his players a mental edge against their opponents and pushed for the community to get behind this team.
“This group of seniors has had a lot of big wins for this program the past few years,” he said. “I think there is more to come.”