In Jan. 21 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
In a sluggish district game on Thursday night at Laker Gym, the Russell County Lakers defeated the Cumberland County Panthers 46-42, sending the 11-2 Lakers to 3-0 in district play.
Russell County shot poorly from the field for the game hitting just 33 percent of their shots for the game but hit their free throws late in the game and came up with several steals in the game's final minute of play.
“The team that played with the most energy and executed the best tonight didn't win,” said Laker coach Willie Feldhaus after the game. “We're very fortunate to come out here with a win.”
It had been nine days since Russell County's last game, a 54-51 loss at Greenwood, due to snow days but Feldhaus said he wasn't one to make excuses for poor play.
“But when you get out of a routine ... it makes it difficult,” he said. He noted that Cumberland County had also been out of school recently but was able to play a district game earlier in the week, a loss to Clinton County.
He said Cumberland County had a couple of careless turnovers late and that, inevitably, cost them the game.
“Truthfully, its not a lack of effort on our part but I think it has to be a lack of focus for us to be that slow of foot,” he said.
“I think this is an attention-getter for them and I truly hope we will be able to respond against Clinton County.”
Leading the way for Russell County was senior Robbie Bell with 11 points and nine rebounds. Seniors Adam Justice, Lucas Justice and Zach Carney all score eight points in the game. Carney also pulled down 10 rebounds.
Freshman Tyler Robertson scored six points and senior Bryson McFall poured in five points for Russell County.
Senior Cameron Stalcup led the Panthers with 15 points followed closely by Shaun Wheat with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Cumberland County shot 35 percent from the field in the game.
“They're dangerous,” Feldhaus said of the 7-10 Panthers. “They were a step faster getting to all the loose balls tonight.”
He also said Cumberland County played without their second leading scorer and point guard for the game, another point that worked in Russell County's favor late in the game.