Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

December 23, 2012

Hustle play helps Dawgs claim title

Lawrence edges Rams

RACELAND — Diving out of bounds in order to create a turnover doesn’t show up in the box score.

However it does register on Lawrence County coach Josh Cook’s internal stat sheet under the column “Winning Plays.”

Brandon Richardson’s deflection and free throws on the resulting possession helped propel Lawrence County past Raceland 60-56 in the championship game of the Eighth Annual Raceland Derby Classic.

Earlier in the tournament, Cook had said that his team still had to learn to make such winning plays. Now he knows they are paying attention.

“That is a hustle play,” Cook said. “That is a kid sacrificing his body, jumping in the air and just making a great hustle play, and we really needed at that time.”

The Bulldogs, who lead by just two at the time, took advantage of the extra opportunity. Richardson, who had already knocked down three 3-pointers, was fouled attempting to make it four makes from behind the arc. After missing the first, the freshman calming sank the following two.

“I feel that we are starting to make a lot more of the winning plays, but we have a long way to go,” Cook said. “We have got to get a lot better. Basketball is a game of possessions and it comes down to who can win the most possessions.”

Once taking the lead midway through the fourth quarter, Lawrence County did what it had to do to keep it from the free throw line. The Bulldogs make the last six attempts from the charity stripe.

“Tonight it wasn’t always pretty, we had some bad possessions, but in the fourth quarter things went better and that gave us the advantage,” he said.

The Rams took a six point advantage into the final period, mostly on the shoulders of sophomore Connor Messer, who tallied six points in the final minute of the period.

Messer used his athleticism to dominate the glass and did most of his damage right around the rim. He finished with 22 points to go along with 17 rebounds.

Zack Kelly and David Pennington were the only other two Rams to reach double figures, scoring 16 and 10 respectively.

While Messer patrolled the paint for the Rams, the Bulldogs took advantage from the outside, where they made a total of eight 3-pointer baskets.

Grant Kiser accounted for three of those on his way to scoring 13 points. Timmy Dalton was responsible for the other two 3-pointers. He finished with 17 to lead Lawrence County.

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