In Feb. 18 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
Shooting nearly 60 percent from the field, coach Willie Feldhaus' Laker basketball team thrashed the visiting Adair County Indians 70-42 on Friday in the last home game of the season to move to 18-3 on the season.
On a special night which honored seven Laker basketball seniors, a packed crowd at Laker Gym witnessed a game in which the Indians scored only four first quarter points and shot just 33 percent from the field.
Laker seniors Zach Carney, Kyle Burchett, Adam Justice, Lucas Justice, Jordan Best, Bryson McFall and Robbie Bell all played important roles in securing a big victory over their longtime rivals.
“It is a nice memory for them, that is for sure,” Feldhaus said. “I know growing up like they did here, (beating) Adair County maybe means a little more to them than it does to me.”
Feldhaus said he appreciated the Adair County program which has seen some successful seasons the past few years but is just 9-17 this season.
“I know coach Fudge does a really good job but tonight our kids were really focused,” he said. Feldhaus credited his team's shooting and defended well enough to win the game.
“I was just worried about making sure we took care of the ball and for the most part we were able to do that,” he said.
Russell County committed just five turnovers in the game to Adair County's 10.
The Lakers also overpowered the Indians in the paint, scoring 40 points to the Indians' 14, another point Feldhaus was proud of.
“To score 70 points against there defense is something that I'm proud of and something our kids are proud of too,” he said. “We also won the rebounding battle by 10, so when you do those things you are giving yourself a really good chance to win.”
Three Laker seniors scored double figures in the win. Robbie Bell finished with 20 points, Adam Justice totaled 18 points and Zach Carney had 16 points. Carney also led the Lakers in rebounding with nine while Adam Justice grabbed eight boards.
Also scoring for Russell County was freshman Tyler Robertson with four points, Bryson McFall, who also had five assists, and Hunter Best with three points each, Lucas Justice and Taylor Hutchison with two points each and Jordan Best and Kyle Burchett with one point apiece.
Senior Tristan Reece led the Indians in scoring with 14 points.
A scary moment happened late in the first half when Robbie Bell went up for a designed alley-oop play and was undercut, falling hard on his backside. Russell County's leading scorer laid on the ground for several scary moments as Laker Gym fell to a dead silence.
After a few moments, Bell was helped up and went to the locker room for treatment before returning to the game a few moments later to lead Russell County in scoring.
“I think it took his breath away and it took his coaches' breath away too,” Feldhaus said of the fall.
“Anytime of the year, especially this close to tournament time you hate to see a kid go down and take a fall like that,” he said.
Feldhaus said falls like the one Bell took sometimes ended ugly, with broken bones or other injuries but Bell was lucky.
“Obviously, he looked good in the second half,” he said.