Friday was not the Homecoming Lewis County boys basketball coach Joe Hampton had hoped.
After playing its last nine games on the road and returning to the court after a 10-day layoff, Lewis County felt a little like a soldier returning from an overseas tour of duty. Appropriately enough, it was Veterans' Appreciation Day.
But, the first home game since Dec. 7 ended just like that contest — a four-point defeat — this time at the hands of Elliott County, 65-61.
“We were part of (a Veterans' Appreciation Day) last year at Greenup County,” Hampton said. “ Our local National Guard recruiter told me about the different uniforms they were getting out to the different teams to use if they wanted to do a special occasion, so we did that and we tied it into a veterans' appreciation night. We let (veterans) in at no cost and tried to give them a small token of our appreciation by giving each one a flag.”
From Hampton’s perspective, there was only one problem.
“I thought the uniforms may be hard to see because they were camouflage and we’d be tough to guard, but it kind of was the other way around. Elliott couldn’t see us on defense and just went right by us and made for easy open lanes to the rim tonight,” he joked.
Lewis County (5-8) jumped out to an early 18-13 first-quarter advantage. However, in a game that featured nine first-half lead changes, Elliott County battled back to tie the score at 25-25 with 2:39 to play in the second period.
Yet, the resilient homestanding Lions finished the half on a 7-2 run to take a 32-27 edge into the locker room.
That momentum did not carry over.
Lewis County scored just 13 points in the third quarter as Elliott County surged ahead 47-45 by the end of the period.