Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 12, 2013

Morgan, Fleming win nailbiters in EKC semis

MacKenzie Bates

MOREHEAD — It was a wild night for high school boys basketball Wednesday in Morehead.  Both Morgan County and Fleming County won by three points in the Eastern Kentucky Conference Tournament semifinals.

East Carter attempted a late rally but the Cougars held on for a 64-61 victory over the Raiders.  The Panthers forced several key turnovers in the final two minutes to defeat host Rowan County 74-71.  

Ryan Adams led four players in double figures with 18 points and 10 rebounds in Morgan County’s victory.

Connor Greene’s 26 points led East Carter. Cole Brammer had 10 points.  He got a shot off at the end of the game that rimmed out. It would have sent it into overtime.

“They made us earn it and it’s a sign of a well-coached basketball team,” Morgan County coach Matthew Perry said.  “Coach (Brandon) Baker does a great job with his kids. We didn’t quit though.”

Morgan County and East Carter were tied at 51-all with four minutes to go in the fourth quarter but the Cougars extended the lead on some big baskets.  The Raiders were able to get within two at 61-59 but could not get any closer.

“I’m really pleased with the way we’re competing and playing tremendously hard,” East Carter coach Brandon Baker said.

In the nightcap, Rowan County built a five-point lead in the third quarter to put the Panthers on their heels.  Troy Steward, who was held to five points in the first half, exploded for 16 points in the second half and helped force four key turnovers down the stretch to give Fleming County its sixth straight victory over the Vikings.

Rowan County held a four-point advantage with 2:20 to go, but Fleming County used an 8-2 run to give the Panthers the lead for good.

Steward also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out seven assists.  All five starters scored in double figures.

The Vikings (2-2) also had a shot to tie the game but Larry Whelan’s three-quarter-court heave did not fall through.

“It’s tough but I’m proud of our kids and how hard they have worked,” Vikings coach Shawn Thacker said.  “We turn it over (12) times in the game but we have to take care of the basketball if you wanted a chance to win.  Two or three of them came at the wrong time.”

Justin Graham led Rowan County with 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Tyler Thacker contributed with 19 points, playing all 32 minutes along with Graham.

The EKC finals will be played tonight at Warren Cooper Gymnasium.  In the girls championship, East Carter will face Fleming County at 6 p.m. Morgan County will face the Panthers in the boys’ championship 20 minutes after.

E. CARTER    13    8    18    22    -—    61

MORGAN CO.    12    20    13    19    —    64

East Carter (61) — Brammer 10, Damron 4, Sparks 7, Greene 26, B. Marsh 5, Davis 5, S. Marsh 4. PF: 16. Fouled out: None. FT: 13-18. 3-point FGs: 8 (Greene 4, Brammer, B. Marsh, Davis, Sparks).

Morgan County (64) — Conley 4, Adams 18, Burton 10, Whiamn 13, Perry 16, Ross 3. PF: 19. Fouled out: None. FT: 12-15. 3-point FGs: None.

FLEMING CO.    12    23    12    27    —    74

ROWAN CO.    10    25    15    21    —    71

Fleming County (74) — Crisp 19, Steward 21, McKee 10, Saunders 10, Williams 11, Crumby 3.  PF: 17 Fouled out:  None FT:  15-25.  3-point FGs:  7 (Steward 3, Crisp, McKee, Saunders, Crumby).

Rowan County (71) — Graham 20, Whelan 9, Thacker 19, Callahan 17, Politte 2, Fannin 2, Williams 2.  PF: 21 Fouled out:  None. FT: 13-19, 3-point FGs:  6 (Graham 2, Whelan 2, Thacker, Callahan).