Bill Mike Runyon didn’t mince words Friday night.
Paintsville’s legendary coach was upset as his team, in his words, were “out played, out hustled and out worked” in a 76-70 loss at Lawrence County.
“You can’t give this kind of effort and expect to win games,” said Runyon. We were lucky, very lucky, to be this close. Defensively, we absolutely stunk, and they (Lawrence County) played with much more intensity and desire.”
The youthful Bulldogs (14-10) are perhaps one of the hottest teams in the region, but they will have their work cut out for them in the 57th District Tournament. With a 2-5 district mark – with one more district game left at Sheldon Clark – Lawrence County will likely fall in the dreaded fourth spot, meaning the team must win two games to earn a spot in the regional tournament.
“For us to be competitive, we have to play at a high level of intensity, and I believe we did that tonight,” said first-year Lawrence County coach Josh Cook. The Bulldogs played extremely well in the 15th Region All A Tournament, and was a shot away from winning the championship. “I think we are back to being hungry and humble. We had some success, but we also had a lot of setbacks and disappointments. We are realizing that we have to come on the floor and put it all out there night in and night out.”
All five Lawrence County starters scored in double figures as brothers Robert Dalton (freshman) and Timmy Dalton (eighth-grader) led the way with 18 points apiece. Freshman Austin Chaffins followed with 16, freshman Brandon Richardson had 11, and freshman Grant Kiser finished with 10.
“I told our kids before the game that they keys to the game were defense, rebounding and intensity,” Cook added. “I thought our kids were aggressive in going to the basket, and showed composure as [Paintsville] made a few runs late.”
The Tigers (11-8) got to within two at 42-40 with 4 minutes, 26 seconds left in the third quarter, but Lawrence County answered in a hurry with eight unanswered points, including three-pointers by Chaffin and Richardson to push its lead to 50-40.
Senior Trevor Tiller had 13 points to lead four Paintsville players in double figures. Quinton Hensley followed with 12, while Matt Daniels and Matt Miller finished with 11 each.
The Tigers are 3-3 in district play with games next week with Magoffin County and Johnson Central. Wins there could propel the Tigers to the second or third seed in the post-season.
“Those games are must-wins, plain and simple,” said Runyon.
PAINTSVILLE 16 17 17 25 – 70
LAWRENCE CO. 19 21 18 18 – 76
Paintsville (70) – Trevor Tiller 5(1) 0-0 13; Matt Daniels 1(3) 0-0 11; Matt Miller 3(1) 2-4 11; Kash Daniel 4 0-0 8; Luke Trimble 1 2-5 4; Payton Smith 0(1) 2-2 5; Quinton Hensley 3(2) 0-0 12; Luke Daniels 1 2-2 4; Zac Collins 1 0-0 2. Totals: 19(8) 8-13 70.
Lawrence County (76) – Austin Chaffins 3(2) 4-5 16; Robert Dalton 7 4-7 18; Brandon Richardson 2(1) 4-4 11; Grant Kiser 5 0-0 10; A.J. Cyrus 1 0-0 2; Joe Wallen 0 1-2 1; Timmy Dalton 7 4-5 18. Totals: 25(3) 17-23 76.
Dawgs land 5 players in double figures, beat Paintsville
Bill Mike Runyon didn’t mince words Friday night.
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VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights
Fleming County defeated Lewis County, 66-58, and Ashland beat Greenup County, 81-61, on Monday night at Morehead State University to set up tonight's championship matchup. Tipoff is set for 7.
Ashland cruises past Greenup to 16th Region championship game
Tyler Stewart is known for his unrelenting hustle as one of Ashland’s glue guys.
When the senior guard can pitch in some offense too, as he did Monday in the 16th Region Tournament semifinals, that’s just one more problem for Tomcats opponents.
Stewart scored 20 points, senior Steven Friley posted a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Ashland outscored Greenup County 21-9 in the third quarter to break open what was a seven-point game at halftime and cruise past the Musketeers, 81-61.
Fleming battles back to 16th Region final
A healthy Wilder Williams this season has given Fleming County a whole new dimension.
Prior to his sophomore year, Williams sustained a football injury that resulted in three ankle surgeries and limited him to bench duty last season while the Panthers made their run to the 16th Region championship.
A physical 6-foot-3 player, Williams is making his presence felt around the basket as Fleming County looks to return to the Sweet Sixteen.
AARON SNYDER: Will the next hero be unmasked?
Who will the bat signal shine for tonight?
Or, should I say, the Cat signal?
In the third installment of a trilogy that might rival the Batman three-pack of “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” Fleming County and Ashland will battle in a matchup that has produced a classic clash in each of the last two 16th Region Tournaments.
If the first two collectively served as a gradual progressions to tonight’s scene, the climax could be off the charts.
Corey Gregg was Ashland’s superhero in 2012, when the senior confidently fired a perfect 3-point shot from the right corner. The triple thrust the Tomcats and Panthers into overtime, from which Ashland emerged 79-73 in a first-round game.
Central wins, Lawrence falls in 15th
The biggest concern for Lawrence County coach Josh Cook was staying out of foul trouble.
His team stayed in it all night, and it cost them a spot in the 15th Region title game.
Shelby Valley senior Tyler Carr led four players in double figures with 19 points as the Wildcats knocked off Lawrence County, 72-60, in the semifinals of the 15th Region Tournament at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
“This one hurts,” said Cook. “We’ll learn from this, and I have no doubt that our kids will get back here and finish the job.”
- Fleming hangs tough to beat Lewis Fleming County locked into another fight against Lewis County, which beat the Panthers earlier this season, before winning 66-58 on Monday in Morehead. Wilder Williams posted a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Panthers, who face Ashland on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
- GALLERY: Ashland gets by Greenup County, will meet Fleming in region final Ashland's Steven Friley scored 21 points Monday to lead the Tomcats to an 81-61 win over Greenup County in the 16th Region semifinal in Morehead.
Kittens clamoring for more at state
Ashland girls basketball coaches went the extra mile, and a whole bunch more, to get a first-hand scouting report on the Kittens’ opponent for the State Tournament.
Head coach Bill Bradley and assistant Phil Wittich drove all the way to Henderson — 5 hours, 20 minutes one way Bradley said on the way home — to take in Sunday’s Second Region championship game.
Henderson County, playing on its home floor, defeated University Heights 67-54. The Lady Colonels went unbeaten in their region this season and are 24-5 overall.
EKC hands out hardware
The Eastern Kentucky Conference handed out its 2014 awards on Monday afternoon at a luncheon at Carter Caves.
Barracudas earn kudos from coach
Ashland Area YMCA swimmers impressed coach Ryan Ferguson from start to finish in the three-day Kentucky Y Competitive Swim League State Meet.
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- VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights