For The Independent
Not often does a coach have to implore his players to play as hard in the games as they do in practice.
After a somewhat rough start the season, Boyd County coach Randy Anderson has found himself doing just that.
“We have played some really good teams and kind of got the wind knocked out of us,” the coach said.
Monday night, Anderson finally saw a glimpse of the team that he saw during the offseason as they ratcheted up the defensive pressure to blow past Russell, 74-47, at Boyd County Middle School.
“That was the intensity that these guys had been playing with all summer long, right up until the season started,” Anderson said of his team’s defensive effort that forced Russell into 20 turnovers. “We talked about it again at halftime. We can give more; we have to give more; we have more. We have seen it before.”
The Lions’ (4-7) extra effort to start the second half resulted in three straight Red Devils turnovers, which were quickly converted into six points on the other end.
The one-minute-and-one-second stretch at the beginning of the third quarter quickly buried any hopes the Red Devils had of a second-half comeback.
“We came out and threw it to them three straight times,” Russell coach Merle Kidwell said. “It really wasn’t anything they were doing. We just took the ball to bad places and tried to make passes that weren’t there. That is kind of our bugaboo right now. When we play teams that our athletic and physical, we don’t handle the ball well.”
The turnovers helped fuel a Boyd County offense that was already playing well.
“Defensively, our pressure really caused them to turn the ball over, and our defense became our best offense,” Anderson said. “It just started happening in droves and droves.”
It wasn’t just on fast breaks that the Lions were converting, however. Boyd County was very efficient in its halfcourt offense as well, especially at getting open looks from the outside.
Six different Lions hit shots from behind the arc. They finished an impressive 7-of-12 from 3-point range.
“One more pass has always been a theme for us,” Anderson said. “When we made that one more pass, we got great looks inside and from three, nothing was forced.”
Overall, Boyd County managed to shoot 30-of-50 from the floor, good for 60 percent.
The Lions’ bench players posted even more spectacular numbers than that, finishing the game 11-of-17 from the field including 2 for 3 from behind the arc.
“It wasn’t some tactical thing. Those guys have earned playing time,” Anderson said. “They have competed in games and earned their minutes. We had 27 points total off of the bench, and that is what they are supposed to do. That is what they want to do.”
Reid Rowsey led the Boyd bench scorers, tallying eight points.
While the Lions’ bench provided a nice boost, the eight Red Devil reserves combined to score just 10 points.
Kidwell said his team will need more production from the bench in order to continue to improve.
“Ramsey (Mullins), Ethan (Raby), and Zach (Tackett) have been mainstays in the starting lineup, and we have rotated in different guys every night,” he said. “Obviously we need some help on the perimeter. We just need some other guys to step up, and hopefully they will be able to do that.”
Russell (4-9) was led in scoring by Mullins, who finished with a team-high 16 points.
Boyd County’s Tristan Burgess was the only other player to reach double figures, also with 16.