Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

February 28, 2014

Score in final seconds gives Musketeers 62-60 win, 63rd District crown

RUSSELL — Not even the hit reality TV show “Big Brother” could match the drama of Greenup County’s 62-60 win over Lewis County in the 63rd District championship game on Friday night.

Freshman Jherrell Jackson zoomed toward the basket, twisting as he tossed up a shot with seconds winding off the clock. As the ball bounced off the glass too strong, Jackson could only hang his hat on hope.

“I was just praying that it would either go in or somebody would help me out on that one,” he said.

Somebody helped out, all right. Big Brother sprung into the picture and put back the miss with 3 seconds to go. Greenup County led 62-60.

“That’s a brother cleaning up another brother, that’s what that was,” said Greenup County coach Harold Tackett. “That worked out really well.”

Jair Jackson’s tip topped off a 17-point, 13-rebound, four-block night for the junior. But, it wasn’t over.

Three successive timeouts — two by Lewis County and one by Greenup County — paused play for what seemed like an eternity for Jherrell Jackson.

“My adrenaline was just so high, I was ready for it, ready to get these nets,” he said while waiting his turn to climb the ladder for a snip.

No one doubted who would receive the inbounds pass for Lewis County’s last chance. Brett Ruckel already had a game-high 25 points.

The senior worked his way past the timeline for a clean look at a half-court shot, which clang off the back of the rim.

“It looked good to me when he let it go,” said Lions coach Joe Hampton. “He hit one very similar to that at Bracken County (earlier this season) to win it.”

Greenup County’s student section and sidelines erupted, as it had prematurely after Jackson’s game-winner — the contest, however, wasn’t affected by the first celebration.

Jair Jackson described district supremacy as “amazing excitement.” He added that he and his teammates were motivated additionally by returning to their coach’s old stomping grounds. Tackett played at Morehead State University, where both Lewis County and Greenup County will compete in the 16th Region Tournament starting next Saturday. The tournament draw is today.

“We wanted to send our coach back to Morehead to coach. This is the first time he’s ever going to coach there,” Jair Jackson said of the Musketeers’ second-year coach.

Brandon Johnson was a sophomore when Greenup County last won the district. Now a senior, the 6-foot-8 center had to watch the last 7:23 from the bench on Friday after fouling out.

“It’s so exciting to go to region as district champs,” he said. “I can’t wait.”

When Johnson exited after being a key inside presence all night, Jair Jackson’s mindset changed.

“It’s like the responsibility and all the weight fell on my shoulders after that,” he said.

Following 10 consecutive points by Ruckel to make it 50-46, advantage Lewis County, Jair Jackson came to the rescue.

He swatted a Ruckel shot attempt, and then followed a miss on the another. Then, he blocked another shot, and Robbie Dillon took advantage with a three-point play.

He finished out the quarter with two free throws and two more buckets. None was bigger than the last, which gave Greenup County its first lead since the latter part of the third period.

Christian Wireman served as an immediate sparkplug off the bench. The Musketeers sophomore drained a pair of downtown bombs to give his team a 34-32 halftime lead. He also tied the game at 60-60 with a trey from the left corner with 1:05 to go.

“We blew some assignments,” Hampton said. “We knew Wireman was a spot shooter. We knew that before the game started. We reminded them of that at the half ... and we reminded them again when he hit another 3 to tie it up. Despite all that, it’s 60-60, we’re in control with the ball.”

Lewis County (16-13) misfired what Hampton deemed a “quick shot,” and Greenup County grabbed the rebound to set up the decisive sequence.

Overall, the Musketeers outrebounded the Lions 36-30. They also had the edge in bench points (11-0).

Lewis County was again dynamite from the foul line, going 18 of 20.

Greenup County (12-15) beat the Lions for the first time in four tries this season.

“I’m just really proud of our guys,” Tackett said. “We played one of the toughest schedules in the whole region for this moment.”

Eighth-grader Gage Hughes contributed 11 of his 14 total points in the first quarter for Greenup County. Sammy Holder added 13 points for Lewis County.

All-Tournament Team

GREENUP COUNTY — Robbie Dillon, Jair Jackson, Jherrell Jackson, Gage Hughes. LEWIS COUNTY — Brett Ruckel, Sammy Holder, Wade Adams. RACELAND — Jacob Blair. RUSSELL — Zach Tackett.

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.

Text Only
Local Sports
  • Tee Party: High school golf season opens

    A flurry of area tournaments will usher in the high school golf season, which begins today.
    Rowan County’s traditional boys opener, the Eagle Trace Invitational, tees off this morning at 9 with a field of 13 teams.

    August 1, 2014

  • Paintsville senior Miller Baseball Factory selection

    Paintsville baseball player Taylor Miller is currently participating in an elite event at the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training facility in Bradenton, Florida.

    July 31, 2014

  • Barboursville 2015 U.S. Youth Soccer host

    U.S. Youth Soccer announced Thursday that Barboursville and the West Virginia Soccer Association will host the 2015 U.S. Youth Soccer Region I (East) Championships as part of the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Series.

    July 31, 2014

  • Highlands’ Artists Market to begin today

    Up-and-coming artists are being offered a rare chance to show and sell their work during the First Friday art walk.

    July 31, 2014

  • AARON SNYDER: Five Teams? Pretty Kool

    If these unseasonably cool July mornings aren’t enough to have your mind on the fast track to football, maybe some Kool Hits news will help.

    July 31, 2014

  • Golf scramble will benefit Paramount Arts Center

    Paramount Woman’s Association’s seventh annual Ladies’ Golf Scramble is scheduled for Aug. 11 at Bellefonte Country Club.

    July 30, 2014

  • Kittens call on Ingram

    Somebody had to follow Dave Miller.
    Scott Ingram is pleased to be the coach to fill the vacancy for the man who built Ashland Blazer softball into a perennial state Top 25 program. The Kittens have won the 16th Region championship every year since 2009.

    July 29, 2014

  • 0729kypgaJr0034.jpg Golfers go out with an encore

    Evan Goble said he “wasn’t completely ready for a playoff” on Monday.
    That didn’t stop him from holing two pressure-packed playoff putts to win the 13-14-year-old division of the final event of the summer on the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour at Bellefonte Country Club.

    July 29, 2014 4 Photos

  • EKC Grid-O-Rama set for Aug. 15-16

    The annual Eastern Kentucky Conference football scrimmage contests are set for Aug. 15-16 at Fleming County and Raceland.

    July 29, 2014

  • Holliday embraces high expectations

    As Marshall football prepares to return to the gridiron to begin fall practice Aug. 4, this season the program finds itself labeled something that it has not been in many years: a favorite.

    July 29, 2014