Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 10, 2014

Raceland runs past Greenup County, 55-46

Matt Sparks
For The Independent

RACELAND — It was another tight 63rd District contest Thursday night at Raceland-Worthington High School.

Connor Messer scored seven straight points during a late-game spurt to enable Raceland to break away from Greenup County for a 55-46 victory.

The game featured nine lead changes and seven ties. The Musketeers held an eight-point lead early but neither team held more than a three-point lead until the fourth.

Rams coach Bob Trimble said his team needed to be more aggressive on offense when it got behind to start the game.

"We got behind early and I had to call a timeout,” Trimble said. "We tried to take it to the basket a little more instead of settling for jumpers."

Raceland, known for its outside shooting, found more success with its dribble penetration against the length of Greenup County.

"We made a concentrated effort to do just that," Trimble said. "Greenup is so long around the basket, but when the three is not going down, you have to try something else."

Jacob Blair scored eight of his 13 points in third quarter. His scoring drive at the end of the period put the Rams ahead 37-34, a lead they never relinquished the rest of the game.

"Jacob took over the game in the third," Trimble said. "He hasn't shot it well the last few games, but he stepped up and made some big plays tonight and got us going offensively in the third quarter."

Greenup County (4-8) showed no rust early after not playing a game in 12 days due to bad weather, holding a 13-5 lead midway through the first quarter.

Raceland came right back with a 10-0 run and held a two-point advantage on Messer drive with 6:44 left in the second.

According to coach Harold Tackett, Greenup County plays well in spurts but is not consistent for an entire game.

"We had some mental breakdowns," Tackett said. "We have to be an inside-out team but for some reason when we come out to play we don’t do that."

"It’s frustrating to me and the players," he added. "It’s just one of our issues. We will have to stay in the gym and work to find our identity."

Ram forward Tyler Morris connected on a corner 3-ball over the outstretched hand of Jair Jackson to begin the fourth to extend Raceland lead to six.

Trimble says Morris' versatility is his biggest asset.

"He can handle it, pass it and rebound it," Trimble said. "We call him a poor man's Larry Bird around here. He is a smart player for just a sophomore."

Morris was also in double figures with 10.

Jackson, the Musketeers’ double-double machine, had 14 points and 17 rebounds.

"Jair played strong," Tackett said. "We have to reward that kid and get him the basketball more. He is one of the best players in the region."

Robbie Dillon led the team with 18 points. Jherrell Jackson chipped in 11.

Raceland improved its record to 6-3 and 2-0 in district play. Messer finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Rams.