Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 18, 2014

Lewis beats Greenup, 64-59, to notch another district ‘W’

ZACK KLEMME
The Independent

VANCEBURG — One week does not make a season, but the past five days have been exceptionally productive for Lewis County.

The Lions’ 64-59 defeat of visiting Greenup County on Friday night gave them three 63rd District tournament seeding victories in that time. They’re 4-0 in such games and have won three straight contests overall after losing seven of nine.

“We haven’t turned the corner, by any means,” Lewis County coach Joe Hampton said, “but we’re headed in a lot better direction than we were a couple weeks ago.”

Five Lions reached double figures, led by Trenton Walker’s 14. The sophomore guard also had Lewis County’s only two field goals of the fourth quarter as Greenup County trimmed the Lions’ 15-point third-quarter lead to two and held Lewis County without a bucket for a 9 ½-minute stretch.

“We survived not having our best game down the stretch, but that was good for us,” Hampton said. “We’ve had some spells like that where we’ve not played well and struggled to score and we kind of folded up, and tonight we didn’t do that. We kept playing through the turnovers (and) second-chance points.

“We did a lot of things wrong that fourth quarter, but we still managed to win the game.”

Brett Ruckel netted 12 points, Wade Adams added 11 and Daulton Mason and Jake Parker each scored 10 for Lewis County (8-9).

Musketeers freshman Jherrell Jackson led all scorers with 17 points. His brother, Jair Jackson, posted a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds, Gage Hughes scored 12 points and Robbie Dillon netted 10 for Greenup County (5-9).

Lewis County used a 15-5 third-quarter flurry to stretch its five-point halftime lead to 15. That stretch included four baskets off Lions offensive boards, capped by Walker’s stickback with 2:57 to go in the third frame.

Lewis County still led 52-41 on Sammy Holder’s two foul shots with 6:52 remaining, but the Musketeers reeled off a 13-4 run to get within one possession three times in the final 65 seconds.

Jair Jackson scored in the lane, Dillon ripped off four straight points and, after Walker scored down low with 1:25 to play for the Lions’ first basket of the quarter, Austin Grooms cleaned the glass and turned in an and-1 to get Greenup County within 56-54 with 1:07 left.

“We played really hard. We left everything on the floor,” Greenup County coach Harold Tackett said. “Sometimes we don’t play really smart, but when you have an eighth-grader (Hughes) out there and a freshman out there, that does nothing but make you better.”

That was as close as the Musketeers got, though. Greenup County got within 62-59 when Hughes banked in a trey with 12 seconds to go, but Parker drained two charity tosses 1.1 seconds later to set the final margin.

The Lions scored the last eight points of the second quarter to lead at intermission. Mason’s 3 at the buzzer went halfway down, bounced off the rim a couple times and dropped for a 33-28 Lewis County edge.

Lewis County had already won twice in Lloyd. But both games were close, with the second going to overtime in the Green House.

“We’re right there,” Tackett said. “Lewis County’s a solid team, they’re really good, and playing teams like that, especially a team in our district, will do nothing but make us better.”

The Lions are seeking their first top tournament seed since moving to the 63rd District before the 2004-05 season, Hampton said.

“That’s a goal we talked about in the preseason, and right now I feel we’re in the driver’s seat,” Hampton said. “But we’ve got two tough games to go, on the road to Raceland and Russell.”

The Musketeers dropped to 1-3 in seeding games. The Rams are 3-1 and the Red Devils are 0-4.

ZACK KLEMME can be reached at zklemme@

dailyindependent.com or

(606) 326-2658.