After a pair of hard-fought losses on the road, Boyd County players felt much better leaving the court Tuesday night.
Thanks to a big second half, coach Randy Anderson’s team pulled away for an 86-62 victory over Lewis County at Boyd County Middle School.
“It’s just good to see these kids smiling,” Anderson said. “We’re 20 games into the season, and sometimes it can be a grind out there. To see these guys happy, enjoying what they are doing, it’s fun.”
The way Boyd County was putting the ball in the basket, it couldn’t be anything less. The home team, now 11-9, shot 58 percent and also went 15-for-18 at the foul line in posting its second-highest point total of the season.
Six Boyd County players reached double figures. Senior Austin Hunt led the scoring parade with 20 points, courtesy of an outstanding second half.
Both teams were missing a key player. Lewis County’s Brett Ruckel, who averages 21.6 points, sustained a high ankle sprain Friday against Greenup County. Versatile Boyd County post player Brandon Lowe has a knee injury.
Hunt, quiet for two quarters, exploded for 18 points the rest of the way to help Boyd County build on a six-point halftime advantage.
“He’s so physical,” Anderson said of the 6-foot-3 forward. “With B-Lowe out of there, Brandon Taylor did a good job on the boards and I think Austin understands he has to be vital in that area, too. When he does, he’s more active on both ends.”
Hunt pulled down 10 rebounds, tops on the team, and made a variety of shots around the basket after hitting a 3-pointer to start the second half.
Threes proved to be a staple for Boyd County all night. Along with five 3-pointers in 11 attempts, the Lions converted six three-point plays of the old-fashioned variety. Hunt and freshman guard Bobby Anderson accounted for two apiece.
Grayson Griffith, Hunt, Todd Stacy and Anderson each was fouled on baskets in the third quarter and made the free throw. The last two came during a 7-0 run to end the period, extending the lead to 60-44.
Boyd County bumped the margin to 26 midway through the fourth quarter, aided by another three-point play from Hunt in transition.
“It was a tale of two halves,” Randy Anderson said. “I just thought we had really good ball movement.”
Griffith, filling Lowe’s spot in the lineup, was another catalyst with 15 points despite early foul trouble. The 6-3 junior was 6-for-8 from the field and scored all but two of his points in the second half.
“Grayson just has a lot of energy, a lot of passion about what he does,” Anderson said. “He always seems to be around the ball.”
Todd Stacy tossed in 14 points, while Anderson and Burgess each scored 10.
Lewis County (9-8) made 14 of 17 free throws but shot only 34 percent from the floor. Sammy Holder scored 15 points and Trenton Walker to lead the team.
Boyd County plays at Ashland on Friday.
“Hopefully we can carry over the good things we did tonight,” Randy Anderson said.
ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2671.