In Jan. 21 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
The Russell County Lakers won a big district home game on Thursday night at Laker Gym, defeating the Lady Panthers of Cumberland County by 20 points, 59-39.
“I was pleased with our defensive intensity,” said Lady Laker coach Craig Pippen following the win. “We mixed up our defenses and tried to keep them off guard, I think our plan worked well.”
Russell County moves to 11-5 on the season and 2-1 in district play after shooting 40 percent in the game.
“Kim Pierce had another big game for us,” Pippen said. “She continues to improve game by game. Her confidence is slowly getting back to where it was a year ago.”
Pierce, a senior, finished as the leading scorer for Russell County with 14 points and six rebounds.
Pippen also lauded the play of freshman Julie Wethington who is starting to play with more confidence.
“We need her to be able to come off the bench and play well for us,” Pippen said. “Tonight she came in and did a great job offensively and defensively for us.”
Wethington finished with 12 points off the bench for Russell County on 4-7 shooting.
“Lindsay Ramage got into foul trouble and spent most of the game watching from the bench,” Pippen said. “However, when she was on the floor, she played extremely hard and did some nice things.”
Ramage, a junior, finished with four points and three rebounds on the night.
“Blair Hoover is doing a better job going to the boards and understanding her defensive role,” Pippen said. “With our small lineup, she will be asked to play big for us.”
Hoover, a junior, tallied five points and five boards in the game for the Lady Lakers.
Pippen also said freshman guard LeeAnn Grider, who had 10 points, and senior guard Rachael Miller, who had four points, also did a nice job executing Russell County's offensive sets.
“I am starting to see more chemistry on the offensive side of the ball,” he said.
Pippen said the one player that stands out from an improvement standpoint is freshman guard Regan Helm.
“Regan came off the bench and scored and defended the way we need her to,” he said. “She is that one player that can take us from good to better quick.”
Helm finished with eight big points on the night.
“Amanda Cooper continues to gain experience and improve both offensively and defensively for us too,” he said.
Madison Loy, and 8th grader, also scored two points in the victory.
Taylor Watson led the Lady Panthers with 12 points while Eliza Smith had 10 points for Cumberland County.
“This was good win and we will continue to seek improvement in our transition offense and team defense,” Pippen said.