Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

February 19, 2013

Region will get Cougar sighting

Morgan to return to Morehead for first time since 2004-05

GRAYSON — After eight years of waiting, Morgan County could not wait to celebrate its return to the 16th Region Tournament.

But their premature celebration nearly caused the near decade-long streak to continue. The Cougars held on, though, for a 63-60 defeat of Elliott County in the opening round of the 62nd District Tournament.

With three-tenths of a second remaining, Aleksandar Malinic grabbed what should have been a game-sealing rebound for the Cougars and was immediately fouled.

While walking to the free-throw line, Morgan County players inexplicably left the bench to celebrate with the five players on the floor, which resulted in a technical foul and gave Elliot County a glimmer of hope.

Malinic made one of two from the line to give Morgan County a four-point lead at 63-59.

Logan Nickell gave Elliott County a chance by also making one of two from the line, making it a one possession game.

With so little time remaining, the Lions were not able to muster anything more than a running fadeaway three that did not even draw iron as the Cougars escaped at East Carter High School.

Morgan County will play the winner of tonight’s East Carter-West Carter matchup on Thursday night at 7 p.m. for the 62nd District crown.

“We have just got to cut out the stupidity,” Morgan County coach Matthew Perry said. “There is stuff that shouldn’t be happening out here that is, and we got over-excited at the end and it nearly cost us.”

Outside of the last-second near disaster, the Cougars’ play down the stretch was anything but suspect.  

Morgan County (21-7) scored on five of six possessions at one point and knock down its free throws during the final period to help keep the Lions at bay.

No two free throw attempts were bigger than those by freshman Jordan Perry. Elliott County had just cut the lead to one on a Landon Griffith driving layup, and after Perry missed the front end of the bonus.

This time the freshman steadied the nerves, toed the line, and knocked down a pair to push the Cougar lead to 62-59 with just more than 15 seconds remaining.

Overall Morgan County finished 18 of 23 from the charity stripe.

“Eighteen of 23 is big for us,” said coach Perry. “We haven’t shot free throws well all year, but tonight it was big.”

Down three, Elliott County coach Greg Adkins knew he had to get the ball into the hands of Nickell, a senior, but the play he drew up in the huddle never quite made it to the floor.

“We wanted to run him off a couple stagger screens to try and get an open look,” he said. “But we never really got it set up right, and I was yelling for a timeout, but I guess the officials never heard me.”

Instead of an open look, Nickell had to settle for a running contested three from the right wing, which glanced off the front of the rim.

While his last attempt was off the mark, Nickell made plenty of big-time plays for the Lions. None was bigger than his three at the end of the third quarter, a 26-foot bomb that gave Elliott County a two-point lead and capped off an 8-2 scoring spurt.

Nickell finished off his career with a 29-point performance.

Trailing for the first time since the opening minute of the game, Morgan County immediately responded with nine straight points to open the fourth quarter to halt the Lions’ momentum.

Morgan County made a concerted effort to get the ball to Malinic in the post in the final period, where he delivered eight big points.

“They were able to do a good job of isolating the big kid from Serbia in the post,” Adkins said. “We had done a pretty good job on him all night, but they were able to get him one-on-one in the post several times and he was able to convert.”

Malinic finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

When Malinic wasn’t scoring in the fourth quarter, it was Jordan Whitt. The senior tallied seven of his team-high 20 in the final stanza.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • Barnwell's K barrage lifts Boyd County

    In the 1990 film Jacob’s Ladder, the main character is haunted by memories of terrifying instances that occurred in his life before and during the Vietnam War.

    April 17, 2014

  • Lawrence serves ace

    Eight is great for Lawrence County tennis.
    After playing last year on four tennis courts badly in need of repair, LCHS now features a sparkling eight-court facility.

    April 17, 2014

  • Proposed plan a touchdown for Ashland, Central

    They’ll have to wait another year, but some major changes are on the horizon.
     

    April 15, 2014

  • Martin, Cannoy put pop on top of Boyd 12-2 win

    Boyd County’s softball bats are booming of late.

    April 14, 2014

  • Stock spiking for Raceland softball

    Raceland took a major step in trying to shift the balance of power in 63rd District softball.

    April 14, 2014

  • 0415eastSB0110.jpg Still chasing the Kittens

    East Carter entered Monday’s softball showdown with Ashland looking to show it’s a credible threat to the Kittens’ recent domination of the 16th Region.

    April 14, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local Sports in Brief: Bush, Porter Wendy's Heisman finalists

    Rose Hill Christian seniors David Bush and Myriah Porter have been named state finalists for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award.

    April 14, 2014

  • Paintsville tops Magoffin, 12-0

    Kash Daniel and Spencer Taylor combined to toss a one-hitter as Paintsville pounded Magoffin County, 12-0, on Monday night in the first of a two-game series between 57th District foes.

    April 14, 2014

  • AARON SNYDER: Kittens on prowl for SS

    The Monday Morning Shortstop didn't have to dodge any actual darts at Ashland Softball Complex, although there may be an enlarged picture of him riddled with holes somewhere close by.
    If the piercing looks thrown my way weren't enough to sway me, the Kittens did more than enough on the field the past two weeks to distance themselves from a No. 5 ranking in northeastern Kentucky.

    April 13, 2014

  • 0414bcclassic0539.jpg Raceland girls, Boyd boys win track Classic

    As Boyd County first-year track and field coach Chris Holbrook stood on the infield and watched a member of Raceland’s 4-by-400-meter relay team circle the track in the final girls’ event of Saturday’s Boyd County Classic, he commented aloud to no one in particular, “She’s not showing any signs of running out of gas.”
    The Lady Rams had just enough in the tank to fend off the Lady Lions’ late charge and lock down their third victory of the young season, edging host Boyd County by six points, 171-165.
    On the boys’ side, Boyd County cruised, beating second-place Rowan County 175-114. A Lions club that finished 10th in last spring’s Class 2A, Region 6 meet has won all three meets it’s participated in this season.

    April 13, 2014 4 Photos

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
SEC Zone