Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

December 20, 2013

Rams, Dawgs rule the night

RACELAND — Raceland boys basketball coach Bob Trimble's pregame message consisted of one simple number.

“I had a big No. 9 written on the grease board,” Trimble said. “The kids knew what it meant.”

Raceland emphatically snapped a nine-game losing skid to 63rd District rival Russell with a 64-39 victory in the opening round of the ninth annual Raceland Derby Classic on Thursday at Raceland-Worthington High School.

Derby Classic defending champion Lawrence County took care of business to tip off the evening, disposing of Fairview, 80-54.

Two more first-round games are on tap tonight, beginning with Campbell County-Betsy Layne at 6:30. East Carter and South Floyd tip off at approximately 8:15. Saturday features two consolation games and the semifinals. The finals are set for Sunday at 8:15, following three consolation contests.

On Thursday, it was all Raceland and Lawrence County.

Zach Kelly drilled two unanswered 3-pointers to get the Rams rolling in the third quarter — the pair of treys gave Raceland a 31-18 lead. He tallied a game-high 15 points on 5-of-7 3-point shooting while earning Player of the Game honors.

"That was big," Trimble said. "Zach has worked extremely hard on shooting the ball, and that's what I want him to do, shoot."

Fellow junior Connor Messer also got going in the second half after a quiet first. He finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. Reserve Josh Young matched Messer for the team-high in boards.

Like a hockey coach, Trimble regularly signaled line changes — a fresh five would replace another five.

"We have a lot of depth, and that's how we want to play," Trimble said. "Defensively is where we have to be our best."

The Rams forced 22 Russell turnovers, many of which came in an unraveling second half for the Red Devils.

"I thought our steady pressure wore them down," said Trimble, whose team also struggled with giveaways — the Rams racked up 20 turnovers.

Raceland (3-1) went on a 12-2 tear bridging the third and fourth quarters, increasing the margin to 53-32 with six minutes left.

Russell (1-6) managed just four made shots in the first 16 minutes, but trailed by just seven at the break. Overall, the Red Devils were 11 of 40 from the floor.

"They had a lot to do with it," Red Devils coach Merle Kidwell credited Raceland.

"In seven games, this was our first real clunker," Kidwell continued. "I told the kids we can either wallow in self-pity or come back. We've got six games in a 10-day period."

Raceland's Tyler Morris scored 11 of his 13 total points in the first half.

Zach Tackett led Russell with nine points. Caleb Martin added seven points and seven rebounds off the bench.

Raceland takes on either East Carter or South Floyd on Saturday at 8:15 p.m. Russell will be in action at 4:45.

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