Bottled-up adrenaline worked wonders for Robbie Dillon and Greenup County’s basketball team on Thursday night.
The Musketeers were supposed to play 63rd District rival Russell six days earlier, but just a few hours before tipoff, the game was called off due to inclement weather.
“When it got canceled, I was so mad,” Dillon said. “I’d been waiting on this (game) for days.”
The senior guard scored 18 points and pulled down seven rebounds as Greenup County staved off a determined Russell bunch, 65-55, at Marvin Meredith Gymnasium. Greenup County hadn’t won at Russell since Jan. 31, 2009.
“We needed another win to get going again,” Dillon said. The Musketeers snapped a two-game skid that followed an 85-45 blowout of Prestonsburg.
Russell fell to 0-4, but the Red Devils didn’t go down without a fight.
After trailing by as many as 17 points, Russell used a sizzling shooting exhibition by Ethan Raby to stay in the game in the second quarter. At one point, Raby drained back-to-back-to-back threes, torching the nets for nine points in less than a minute. The freshman finished with a game-high 21 points.
“Ethan in the second quarter was phenomenal,” said Russell coach Merle Kidwell. “He’s got a good demeanor for a freshman.”
After Greenup County adjusted its defense, using both a box-and-one and triangle-and-two, to negate Raby’s production, Russell found its points elsewhere for much of the second half.
Russell sliced the deficit to three points three separate times in the second half. Senior point guard Ramsey Mullins delivered a behind-the-back dish to Zach Tackett to make it 39-36 midway through the third quarter.
Greenup County extended its lead to 48-39 thanks to a Brandon Johnson two, a Dillon pair from a Johnson assist, Jair Jackson’s third slam and a Christian Wireman 3-pointer.
Russell responded with a Blake Campbell trey, a Raby steal-and-layup and a Mullins free throw to make it 48-45 by the end of the third quarter.
Greenup County coach Harold Tackett had a message for the Musketeers at that time.
“I told them, all basketball teams have a run. They made their run. Now let’s go back to what we’ve been doing,” Tackett said. “I told them to not look at the scoreboard and just play solid ‘D.’”
Following a Silas Cox 3-pointer, which got the full-house crowd rocking, Greenup County clung to a 51-48 lead.
From there, Greenup County (2-2) took over.
Jair Jackson sank a right-handed baby hook before Dillon splashed in a long 3-pointer — his third downtown delivery — off of one of Russell’s 19 turnovers.
“I thought Dillon was the difference for them,” Kidwell said.
Jair Jackson threw down three dunks and tossed in 17 points. Jherrell Jackson tallied nine points and five assists.
Greenup County hosts Lewis County, another district foe, tonight.
“I told the guys, ‘Pat yourself on the back, kiss your girlfriend, hug your mommy, get yourself some rest. We have another one tomorrow,’” Tackett said.
Russell, which travels to Fairview tonight, was a remarkable 11 of 24 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Tackett had 13 points for the Red Devils. Mullins racked up seven points and eight assists.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.