Roger Van Harless is in a tough situation.
Lawrence County’s head coach guided his team to a lopsided 52-38 win over Paintsville Monday night in the play-in game of the 57th District Tournament.
That’s the good news.
Now, for what’s weird. The win sets up a game with Sheldon Clark, where Harless is a former coach and now a member of the Martin County Board of Education.
“It’s a tough situation to be in,” said Harless. “All in all, I think [Sheldon Clark] has the best team in it, and we’ll have to be at our best to be in a position to win.”
Lawrence County (23-9), the tournament’s No. 4 seed, flexed its muscle early and often. Senior Taylor Porter, who has signed to play at Division-I Murray State next season, poured in a game-high 22 points.
“She’s one of the most pure shooters I have ever been around,” said Harless. “She works hard and makes those around her play better.”
Sophomore Savannah Cyrus added 10 points for the Lady Bulldogs, who face Sheldon Clark today at 6 p.m. in the semifinals.
Harless isn’t happy with having to play so soon after an emotional win.
“We don’t have a long bench, and this hurts teams like us,” he continued. “I think we should get a night off like the boys. It’s just fair.”
Paintsville (12-15) was led by sophomore Kerrigan Samons’ 13 points. The Lady Tigers have not won a district since 1932.
PAINTSVILLE 9 10 6 13 — 38
LAWRENCE 17 12 9 16 — 52
Paintsville (38) — Shelby Carroll 4(2) 0-0 14; Eryn Baldwin 1(1) 0-0 5; Andria Hansford 1 2-2 4; Kerrigan Samons 6 1-1 13; Ann Claire Rice 0 2-2 2. Totals: 12(3) 5-5 38.
Lawrence Co. (52) — Savannah Cyrus 5 0-1 0; Ashleigh Adkins 1 1-3 3; Shelby Hay 2 4-4 8; Kara Kirk 0(2) 0-0 6; Taylor Porter 3(3) 7-8 22; Kara Williamson 0(1) 0-0 3. Totals: 11(6) 12-16 52.
Lawrence Co. 84
Magoffin Co. 72
Lawrence County may be the team of the future, but the Bulldogs are playing for today.
Freshman Robert Dalton and eighth-grader Timmy Dalton combined for 45 points Monday night as the Bulldogs chewed up homestanding Magoffin County on Monday night in the play-in game of the 57th District Tournament.
Lawrence County (20-10), the tournament’s No. 5 seed with the 15th Region’s second highest number of wins, advances to play Sheldon Clark at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the semifinals.
“Records don’t mean a thing at this point,” said first-year Lawrence County coach Josh Cook. “It comes down to who shoots the ball, rebounds and plays great defense.”
Robert Dalton poured in a game-high 23 points to lead four Lawrence County players in double figures. Timmy Dalton came off the bench for 22. Grant Kiser added 14, including four 3-pointers, while Brandon Richardson finished with 13.
The Bulldogs showed great poise down the stretch. After using a 16-2 run in the second quarter, Lawrence County led by double digits for most of the night. However, Magoffin County (11-15) made a final run as senior Nathan Howard’s 3-pointer capped off an 8-0 run to trim the Hornets’ margin to four at 62-58 with five minutes left in the game.
That was as close as they would get.
“It was a game of runs, and we couldn’t sustain anything,” said Magoffin County coach Robbie Russell. “We fought, but [Lawrence County] made some big shots down the stretch.”
Cook said his players have played in tournament-type atmospheres throughout the season.
“We’ve grown up, and we grew up a lot tonight,” Cook said. “We’re remaining hungry and humble.”
Eighth-grader Trenton Russell led four Magoffin County players in double figures with 19 points. Howard added 16. Jeff Bolen came off the bench for 14, and Pitts finished with 13.
LAWRENCE 16 22 20 26 — 84
MAGOFFIN 17 9 20 16 — 72
Lawrence (84) — Austin Chaffin 2 1-3 5; Robert Dalton 7(1) 6-11 23; Blake Prince 1 0-0 2; Grant Kiser 1(4) 0-0 14; A.J. Cyrus 2 1-1 5; Timmy Dalton 6(1) 7-9 22; Brandon Richardson 3(1) 4-6 13. Totals: 22(7) 17-30 84.
Magoffin (62) — Nathan Howard 4(1) 5-7 16; Trenton Russell 4(3) 2-2 19; Cory Ptts 6 1-5 13; Justin Poe 0 2-2 2; Jaren Lovely 0(1) 0-1 3; Jacob Isaac 2 1-2 5; Jeff Bolen 4(1) 3-5 14. Totals: 20(6) 10-14 62.
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Roger Van Harless is in a tough situation.
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