In Feb. 4 IssueBy Derek Aaron Times Journal Sports Editor
Behind another superb scoring night by senior guard Robbie Bell, who finished with 31 points on 11-16 shooting, the 16-2 Russell County Lakers jolted visiting Casey County 69-51 Tuesday night at Laker Gym.
The Lakers shot 56 percent from the field for the game and hit five first half three-point baskets to help cushion themselves heading into halftime despite a late second quarter Rebel run.
Russell County finished the first quarter on a 21-9 run and kept the pressure on the Rebels to make three-point baskets from the outside. The Rebels responded and outscored the Lakers 13-11 in the second quarter before the Lakers were able to pull away down the stretch.
"I think we were a bit sluggish in the first half," said Laker head coach Willie Feldhaus. "Defensively, I don't think we were doing some of the things we needed to do and gave up some uncontested shots."
During halftime, Feldhaus said he challenged his players to step up their defensive pressure.
"The second half we made it a little more difficult on them," he said. "I think that was the difference, basically."
The Laker coach said it was good to see his team push out a lead at the end and not allow the Rebels to shoot their way back into the ballgame.
"We shoot 50 percent from three and hit a good field goal percentage," Feldhaus said of his team's performance. He credited several uncontested layups and shots as to why his club was able to push the lead out late.
The win gave Russell County the season sweep over the rival Rebels. The Lakers defeated Casey County 60-52 in Liberty on December 3.
"They played (Monday) night and beat Taylor County," Feldhaus said of the 7-16 Rebels. "The way they shoot the three on a given night they can beat anybody so the way we pushed it out on them at the end of the game was satisfying."
Bell, who was honored before the game for reaching the Laker 1,000 point club in last week's win over Pulaski County, led the Lakers with 31 points while both seniors Adam Justice and Zach Carney finished with 11 point each. Senior Bryson McFall added nine points for the Lakers while junior Martin Cross finished with three points. Both senior Kyle Burchett and freshman Tyler Robertson ended the game with two points apiece.
Leading the way for coach Todd Carman's Rebels was Brad Jeffries with 19 points on 6-14 shooting.
Before the game, junior Lindsay Ramage, a member of the Lady Laker basketball team, was crowned the 2009-10 Basketball Queen. Her escort was Tra Taylor.