For The Independent
With its defeat of Fairview Monday night, Greenup County achieved something it hasn't all year.
A winning streak.
The Musketeers placed four players in double figures and used a big second half to beat the Eagles, 71-52, at the Greenhouse for their third victory in a row.
Greenup County (9-12) was led by Jherrell Jackson with 18 points. Jair Jackson had 16, Robbie Dillon chipped in with 15 and Brandon Johnson added 11.
Greenup County coach Harold Tackett was pleased with the win but says he doesn't get caught up in streaks. He just wants his team to improve every day on the court.
"I don't get so wrapped up in wins and losses, just with my team getting better," Tackett said. "I just coach my team and here lately we have been playing a little better."
Jair Jackson, Greenup County's "Windex Man,” had his athleticism on full display, gobbling up any rebound that came his way. The junior had 16 rebounds for another double-double.
"He has to understand that he can take over a basketball game any time he wants to," Tackett said. "He is a team player, but sometimes he is too unselfish."
Fairview coach Derek Cooksey was quick to notice Jackson's abilities as well.
"He has gotten more aggressive and that comes with age," Cooksey said. "He is relentless and if you don't box him out, it’s hard to contain him."
Fairview held its only lead with two technical free throws before they game got underway due to a scorebook error.
The Musketeers grabbed a slim lead in the first quarter that ballooned to double digits midway through the second.
Cameron Delong nailed a corner 3-pointer to go along with five points from Andrew Carroll in the final seconds of the half to help the Eagles shrink the Greenup County lead to 34-27 at the half.
Jair Jackson's two-handed slam helped ignite a 15-5 run for the Musketeers to start the second half. Johnson’s two straight offensive putbacks helped end a decisive third quarter and Greenup County never looked back.
Fairview (3-18) lost its seventh straight game but Cooksey was happy with the fight his team brought to the game, especially in the first half.
"As bad as we shot the basketball, I thought our effort was there," Cooksey said. "I was pleased with our defense. We did a good job on the perimeter.
"In the second half they had some guys step up and go on a run. That put us back on our heels."
Carroll led Fairview with 17 points and, with all the extra attention he has been getting from opponents, Cooksey says he still finds ways to put the ball in the basket.
"He is getting double-teamed at times and teams are switching on him," Cooksey said. "He is learning how to play within that. It's taken away from his looks, but any time he gets a seam he can knock down some shots."
Antwan Washington was also in double figures for the Eagles with 14.
Tackett's team has had an up-and-down season but looks to be hitting its stride at just the right time.
"We went through stages where we didn't have an identity and we just have to work it out," Tackett said. "I just tell the kids to keep grinding and every day in practice we keep getting a little better. That's the mark of my teams, we seem to peak in February."