LLOYD Predicting the outcome of a 63rd District boys matchup this season is about as reliable as the local weather forecast for the next week.
Thursday night at Greenup County, the Musketeers’ second contest this season with the Raceland Rams proved that point once again.
Raceland led by four only to end up in a 28-28 tie at the break. Greenup County had a 13-point lead early in the fourth quarter and was ready to run the Rams back down U.S. 23.
But what turned out as a nearly mirror image on the stat sheet had only one major difference, the final score, as Greenup County avenged the triple-overtime loss to Raceland in January with a 72-69 victory at the Greenhouse. It was the first win over the Rams since a 59-56 Musketeers victory on Feb. 20, 2017 in the opening round of the district tournament.
“We’ll take any type of win against that type of competition,” Greenup County coach Robert Amis said. “It’s the first time these guys have beaten Raceland in a long time. They are a good team and hit a bunch of shots down the stretch and even with us switching on (Kirk) Pence, he made some nice plays.”
Rod Dryden forced a Rams turnover near midcourt with 6:11 to play in regulation which led to a tomahawk dunk by the 6-foot-6 senior. What followed was a Dryden technical for pulling up on the rim following the flush.
“I tell him all the time, son, act like you’ve been there before,” Amis said of Dryden. “What is that, like your 10th or 12th dunk this year? In a situation like that, just dunk it and go on. That changed the momentum.”
Pence hit one of two technical free throws and followed with a triple to cut the deficit to 59-51 with 5:24 to play, which started the Raceland rally. With 53 seconds to go, Greenup County had pushed the lead back to nine. Twenty seconds later, Pence had the margin down to three before Brady Nelson iced the win from the free-throw line with 22 ticks remaining.
“Super proud of our effort,” Raceland coach Bob Trimble said. “We could’ve laid down, but we got it to a one-possession game. But credit Nelson for making those free throws. Credit (Greenup County), they were better than us tonight. Hopefully, we will see each other again. Not sure where, but hopefully in the district finals and the region finals. We will take both of those.”
Nelson and Zander Carter were instrumental in the Musketeers holding on for the win down the stretch. Nelson with the final two points for his team-high 27 on the night and Zander Carter for hitting all four attempts in the game’s final minutes.
Outside of that, Greenup County went 15 of 25 from the line for the contest.
Dryden sank his first of three trifectas for Greenup County (16-8, 4-2 district seeding) to cut Raceland’s lead to 16-15 after one.
“Give the Dryden kid credit,” Trimble said. “He shot the ball well tonight. Some nights he may shoot six 3s and make none. Tonight, he knocked them down. Give him credit because he’s a capable shooter and a handful in transition.”
Dryden finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds. His 3 to begin the second half gave Greenup County a lead it never relinquished.
Not until Pence single-handedly propelled the Rams (14-6, 3-2 seeding) to a comeback effort that just fell short. Pence led all scorers with 33 points while dropping 24 in the second half.
Greenup County has secured no worse than the No. 2 seed pending Raceland’s outcome with Lewis County on Monday night to learn its fate. With a Lewis County win, Greenup County would earn the top seed on its home floor. With a Raceland win, the Rams and Musketeers will do a blind draw for the top seed.
“With as much parity that’s in this district this year, I don’t know how much of an advantage it is at all,” Amis said of the top ranking. “It’s going to be a war for all of us. For all of us coaches, there’s not a good draw at all.”
“If you make it to Morehead, you’ve earned your way,” Trimble laughed. “We could still play any of the four teams still, so we need to take care of business on Monday.”
RACELAND FG FT REB TP
Floyd 3-7 0-0 2 6
Pence 12-22 5-8 5 33
Broughton 3-5 0-0 3 8
Lewis 0-3 5-6 4 5
Newman 0-0 0-0 0 0
Stephens 1-2 0-0 3 2
Cumpton 6-14 3-4 7 15
Reed 0-0 0-0 3 0
TOTAL 25-53 13-18 27 69
FG Pct.: 47.2. FT Pct.: 72.2. 3-pointers: 6-14 (Floyd 0-2, Pence 4-6, Broughton 2-4, Cumpton 0-2). PF: 19. Turnovers: 20. Fouled out: None.
GREENUP CO. FG FT REB TP
Nelson 11-18 4-6 4 27
Dryden 7-12 7-11 10 24
Burchett 1-3 0-4 2 2
Zand. Carter 2-7 4-4 0 9
Zane Carter 4-5 0-0 6 8
Keeton 1-3 0-0 4 2
TOTAL 26-48 15-25 26 72
FG Pct.: 54.2. FT Pct.: 60.0. 3-pointers: 5-14 (Zand. Carter 1-6, Nelson 1-2, Dryden 3-6). PF: 16. Turnovers: 19. Fouled out: None. Technical foul: Dryden.
RACELAND 16 12 13 28 — 69
GREENUP CO. 15 13 24 20 — 72
Officials: Laine Hughes, Mikey Whisman, Kenny Kegley.