For The Independent
Some say there is no place like home. Russell star Kyle Skaggs would beg to differ.
It’s not that the senior has anything against Russell’s Marvin Meredith Gymnasium, it just simply doesn’t matter where the sharpshooter suits up. As long as there are two baskets 84 feet apart, he is plenty comfortable.
It was Raceland's gym's turn to host Skaggs and the rest of the Red Devils on Thursday night, and despite the best efforts of the Ram crowd, Skaggs made himself right at home. He scored 28 points to lead the Red Devils past the Raceland, 70-45.
It has become old hat for the sixth-year starter to put up big numbers against teams in their own gyms, but this year Skaggs is making a habit of setting records on the road.
Just two weeks after surpassing Jon Van Hoose’s school record for career points in a contest at Morgan County, Skaggs became the first-ever Red Devil to eclipse the 2,000-point plateau on Thursday.
“I really do love playing on the road. I just try to get as focused as I can for every game, and I guess that is just how it played out,” Skaggs said of his personal accomplishment. “I wish that I could have done at least one at home, but we are winning and that is all that matters.”
The win improved Russell to 6-1 on the season and more importantly 2-0 in 63rd District play.
Russell coach Merle Kidwell said he wouldn’t mind playing even more games at Raceland this season.
“We have always had success here. My first year when we upset Greenup County in the district (tournament) Kyle had 25 points as an eighth-grader, so we are hoping we play about five games here this year,” he said. “The semis and finals of the Class 'A' are here and the districts are here so we want to play at least four more games down here.”
In Russell’s first home game after Skaggs broke the scoring record — against Fairview on Saturday — Skaggs struggled mightily from the field, going just 2 of 11 from behind the three-point line. Back on the road, he returned to form. He knocked down 6 of 12 from behind the arc.
While Skaggs was pouring in shots from all over the court in the first 16 minutes, the Red Devil defense was making it hard for the Rams to make a shot from anywhere but the free-throw line.
Raceland (0-4) went over 10 1/2 minutes without a field goal in one stretch of the first half.
“We were really focused, and Googie (Hayes) really had a good half defensively,” Kidwell said. “He was active and set the tone for us.”
Using his quickness, Hayes was able to deflect several passing in Russell’s full-court press. It led to easy baskets for fellow senior Jacob Porter.
While Porter has been a solid second scoring option for the Red Devils this season, tallying 13 against the Rams, Kidwell continues to praise the guard for his rebounding ability.
“Jacob has just been tremendous with his effort on the glass,” Kidwell said of the 6-foot guard, who has pulled down 17 rebounds in the past two games.
The Rams were able to stay in the game early by taking their time on offense and waiting for a good shot, but once they fell behind they were never able to make a serious run at the Red Devils.
Chase Waddle was the only Ram to reach double figures, scoring 10. Connor Messer added seven points and four rebounds.