Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

February 28, 2013

Deep ball has Rowan back into semifinals

Third-quarter 14-0 run gives Vikings win over Morgan Co.

MOREHEAD — Rowan County boys basketball coach Shawn Thacker has been trying to tell you since about last April.

His message: don't write off the two-time defending 16th Region champion Vikings this season.

In Wednesday's first round game against 62nd District champion Morgan County, seniors Jalen Stone and  Josh Barnard made Thacker sound prophetic. They combined for 33 points in a 66-50 victory at Morehead State University's Ellis T. Johnson Arena.

The Vikings meet Russell, a 77-69 winner over Boyd County last night, in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. The first game, at 6 p.m., features Ashland and Fleming County.

Thacker wasn't gloating afterward – especially because he's also seen his team unravel under pressure.

“(Wednesday) I thought it was the most poised, composed basketball that we've played all year,” he said. “We understood the time, the score and the situations much, much better.”

Stone led all scorers with 21 points, including four-of-seven from 3-point territory – from the same spot.

“Left wing, left wing, left wing,” Stone said. “ ... I'm not really a 3-point shooter before this year.”

Barnard added 12 points and 13 rebounds – numbers with which he was surprised – but last night's win might have meant the most to him of all the Vikings.

“... Last year, I was injury-prone,” Barnard said. “Foot, knee and the wrist. Having a night like this, it's just great.”

Here are some other great Rowan County numbers:

-Just four turnovers for the game.

- A 17-4 edge in bench scoring. Sophomore guard Ryne Callahan scored 13 points.

“I thought the minutes we got off the bench were huge,” Shawn Thacker said.

- Senior guard Tyler Thacker's eight assists and just one turnover.

Thacker the younger often leads the Vikings' offense, but Wednesday, not so much in the first half. He didn't score, missing all three shots and two free throws, but he did serve up five assists.

Good thing Stone, Barnard and center Matt Brown were in the first quarter. Brown and Barnard combined for seven points, and Stone added five – part of a 14-6 lead after one quarter.

Morgan County (22-8) couldn’t solve Rowan County's 2-3 zone. The Cougars — didn't score until Aleksandar Malinic's eight-footer a little more than three minutes in; went another two minutes before scoring again (Samuel Aguirre's layup); and nothing after Jordan Whitt's 18-footer with 2:17 left.

Rowan County (19-13) broke out a four-guard lineup – Thacker, Justin Graham, Callahan and Isaac Lee – to open the second quarter, and it worked. Callahan's six points in two minutes put the Vikings up, 22-9, midway through the period.

“I think you've got to respect all the kids that we put out on the floor,” Shawn Thacker said.

Morgan County (22-8) trailed by 25-18 at halftime, and it would have been worse if not for Jordan Perry and Aguirre.  Thanks to Perry's two 3-pointers, Aguirre's free throw and 3-pointer, the Cougars led, 28-27, with 3:43 left in the third.

It was a lead that lasted just 18 seconds.

Besides Stone's three 3-pointers in a 13-0 run the rest of the period, Coach Thacker thought a change in defense from a 2-3 zone to a diamond-and-1 (with one player chasing Perry) kept the Cougars scoreless the final 3:43 of the period and gave the Vikings a 40-28 lead.

“They just hit some big shots,” Morgan County coach Matthew Perry said. “Jalen Stone hit three threes in that span. That's the ballgame.”

Morgan County never drew closer than nine the rest of the night. Perry led the Cougars with 12 points, followed by Aguirre with 11 and Jordan Whitt and Malinic with 10 each (Malinic also grabbed 13 rebounds).

The obvious task for Rowan County tonight would appear to be containing Russell senior guard Kyle Skaggs, who burned Boyd County for 33 points. Shawn Thacker said that's not necessarily so.

“Skaggs and company,” he said. “He's got a pretty good supporting cast.”


Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0726fbPrac0079.jpg Practice rolls on as kickoff approaches in less than 5 weeks

    As high school football teams strap on helmets and prepare for Friday nights next month, the theme of the first couple of weeks of practice for most is simple.
    You gotta work. Hard.
    And if you don’t, it’ll be exposed come Aug. 22.
    “Everybody looks good in helmets,” Ashland coach Tony Love said with a grin. “We’re all undefeated. There’s a lot of work to get done.
    “Our coaches and kids, we all know it, and that’s why they’re here and we’re here, and we’re gonna push hard every day.”

    July 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • kenzie-breaststroke.jpg Pennington makes push for Nationals

    Swimmer Kenzie Pennington had one last chance to make the cut for this year’s YMCA Long Course National Championships.
    The 15-year-old from Ashland didn’t disappoint.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Salyers shoots 75 for title at Lakeside

    Baylee Salyers of Flatwoods shot a 3-over par 75 at Lakeside Golf Course on Thursday to win the Girls Open division of the Walmart Kentucky PGA Junior Tour event.

    July 24, 2014

  • 0724putnamwebshot.JPG Laying the foundation Workers are finishing the foundation for the locker room on the home side of Putnam Stadium on Tuesday. The Ashland Tomcats open the football season on Aug. 22 against Newport Catholic.

    July 23, 2014

  • Genuine throwback

    Todd Eastham is disproving the old cliche, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

    July 23, 2014

  • MARK MAYNARD: Looking for those who inspire

    Inspirtation, they say, comes from within. It is defined as an inspiring or animating action or influence.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0722KYPGA_152.jpg Jones tops Gillum in playoff at Eagle Trace

    Ashland senior golfer Logan Jones didn't shoot his average Monday.
    He didn't mind.
    His three-over par 75 and one-hole playoff win over Elliott County junior Ryan Gillum gave him the Boys Open division title in the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour stop at Morehead State University's Eagle Trace Golf Course.

    July 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • 102213_329a.jpg Raceland tabs Clark as new girls basketball coach

    Jason Clark has a reputation of being — to use his word — “passionate” on the Raceland volleyball sideline.
    He plans to bring that same approach as the Lady Rams’ new basketball coach.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0305region2_389.jpg Pass the Mayo: East sophomore PG, Lady Raiders preparing for winter run

    East Carter sophomore point guard Kristen Mayo has played basketball for as long as she can remember.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0718spinda.jpg Steelers super fan Spinda to be recognized in Florida

    Shawn Spinda doesn’t have to use speech to profess his passion for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    All it takes is a quick glance for a person to get the picture.
    But to absorb the whole picture, you’ll need to clear your schedule.
    Spinda is one of several fanatics who will be recognized at the Sports Fans Conference in Orlando, Florida, which is set for Aug. 28-Sept. 1 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. He is a “What a Fan” NFL Fan of the Year nominee.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo