In Feb. 11 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
The Russell County Lakers (17-3 overall, 6-0 in district play) secured the number one seed in the upcoming 16th district tournament and an undefeated record in regular season district play with a 70-68 nail-biter over the visiting Metcalfe County Hornets (7-13 overall, 2-4 in district play) Friday night at Laker Gym.
“Once again we hit just enough shots to win,” said Laker coach Willie Feldhaus after the game. “It was kind of uncharacteristic for us that we missed some free throws down the stretch which gave them opportunities to tie or go ahead those last three possessions”
Russell County shot 48 percent from the field for the game but the Hornets were hot from the field, hitting 61 percent of their shots and 42 percent from the 3-point line for the game.
However, the Lakers outscored the Hornets 24-13 in the opening quarter and made enough big plays down the stretch to pull out the close win.
“I told our guys after the game that I didn't think we played bad but that Metcalfe played very well,” he said. “They exposed us some there in the first half of us not getting back on defense and things like that.”
He said those are the type things his club can still improve on that he felt “very fortunate” to pull out the close win.
Despite being smaller than Metcalfe County inside, who had 6-7 twins Grant and Russell Kindred, Russell County was able to outscore the Hornets in the paint, 40-26. Russell County also received 14 bench points to the Hornets' zero.
With his team 17-3 on the year, Feldhaus said his team hasn't gotten the big head knows they still have to prepare the right way and do a lot of the little things to compete and win ballgames, just as they have done all season long.
Feldhaus lauded his team's overall effort once again and said they would continue to get and better as they prepare to face Cumberland County in the district tournament opening round in a couple of weeks.
Leading the way for Russell County was senior Robbie Bell with 25 points and eight rebounds. Senior Zach Carney with 13 points and seven rebounds and freshman Tyler Robertson with 10 points also played key roles in the Laker victory.
Senior Adam Justice had nine points for Russell County while senior Bryson McFall tallied seven points. Seniors Lucas Justice, Jordan Best and Kyle Burchett all had two points each. Grant Kindred led the Hornets with 19 points while Trevor Meredith had 16 points. Russell Kindred finished with 15 points and Dylan Harris ended with 13 points for the Hornets.
On Saturday night, the Lakers traveled to Madison Central High School in Richmond where they were beaten by one-point, 54-53, for just their third loss of the season. Russell County was led in scoring by Adam Justice with 16 points and Robbie Bell with 14 points. Madison Central was led in scoring by Casey Schneider with 14 points.