In Feb. 11 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
Coach Craig Pippen's 14-7 Russell County Lady Lakers pulled out a close district home win on Friday night against the 10-10 Lady Hornets of Metcalfe County, 45-41.
Russell County, who shot 36 percent from the field, managed to get the close victory despite playing catch-up for much of the basketball game.
The Lady Lakers used a 17-8 fourth quarter run to get past the pesky Metcalfe County squad, which was led by senior Kara Reece with 13 points.
“We didn't do a very good job with our interior defense during the first half,” Pippen said. “We gave up too many easy buckets in the paint.”
The Lady Hornets outscored Russell County 30-22 in the paint but made the key plays down the stretch to get the victory that gave them a regular season 4-2 district record.
Russell County was led in scoring by freshman guard LeeAnn Grider with 18 points on 5-10 shooting.
Senior Rachael Miller also tallied double figures with 10 points on the night.
Senior Kim Pierce scored six points in the game while junior Lindsay Ramage had five points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Freshman Amanda Cooper put up four points while junior Blair Hoover had two points in the victory.
“After looking at the film, we noticed a lot of our players not making key adjustments such as defending against the screen, weak-side help and denying penetration,” Pippen said.
“That is an area we need to keep working on.”
Pippen said his team is getting better at pushing the ball in transition but that they still need a lot of improvement as the regular season winds down.
“We also didn't go to the glass and crash the offensive boards like we needed to,” Pippen said. Russell County was outrebounded 29-23 in the win.
“We picked up our defense late in the game and forced them into some critical turnovers toward the end of the game that resulted in some big baskets,” Pippen said of his team.
“I like the fact that we continued to battle back and never quit playing hard. However, our defense and ability to crash the boards has to improve if we plan on playing in March.”
Pippen said with two weeks left before the 16th district tournament begins, the Lady Lakers will continue to work on their problem areas in an effort to make a deep postseason run. Russell County secured a 2 seed in the tournament and will play 3 seed Metcalfe County again in the opening round.
“I am confident we can improve in all these areas before the district tournament,” Pippen said.