LLOYD Age is only a number.
Eighth-grader Zander Carter had the number 3 in his sights on Friday night.
The young Greenup County guard played well beyond his years against rival Russell and capped off his big game by splashing the game-winning trey to lift the Musketeers to a 92-89 win in an overtime thriller at the Greenhouse.
“We’ve just been working hard in practice, preparing for this moment for a couple of days now,” Carter said. “My teammates got me open, it was the right opportunity for me and I knocked it down.”
In a back-and-forth extra period, Brady Bell connected in the paint for the Red Devils, knotting the score with just seconds remaining on the clock. Greenup County had time for one more play. As Russell mounted a defense, Carter found an open corner spot in front of the Musketeers bench. The ball swung around to him, and with the poise of a veteran, his jumper found the bottom of the net.
Greenup County coach Robert Amis calls Carter “a gamer” and likes that he has the confidence to take shots in big moments.
“I have the upmost confidence in Zander Carter when he gets his feet set,” Amis said. “It means a lot to me because I have a bright future ahead of me at the guard position. He started playing well last year when he was 15 pounds lighter and a few inches shorter. ... He’s not afraid. He’s only 13 and won’t be 14 until the end of March.”
Carter’s heroics started four minutes earlier. He hit one of his six 3s from the top of the key to send the game to overtime. Carter says it’s great that his older teammates to look for him late in games.
“It just shows a lot of trust between us,” Carter said. “It shows that we are a team. We can play together and win some big ball games.”
Carter finished with 22 points. Brady Nelson and Rod Dryden each posted double-doubles. Nelson had a team-high 27 points to go along with 13 assists. Dryden recorded 26 points and 16 rebounds.
“He has been the third option all year,” Amis said of Carter. “He has led us in scoring a couple of times. It relieves some the stress from those guys and he is also another ballhander for me. I also got another big-time performance from a senior bench player. I pretty much play six starters and Brady Burchett comes in and hits two big 3s.”
Russell (7-12) led by as many as 13 points in the third quarter after Charlie Jachimczuk connected from downtown with two minutes left in the frame. The junior point guard had a game-high 35 points.
“Charlie was outstanding tonight,” Russell coach Tom Barrick said. “He’s one of those kids that at the end of games he wants the ball. I have a lot of faith in Charlie and I know when it comes crunch time, he wants the ball because he is a great competitor.”
Greenup County (15-7) closed the third stanza with a 9-2 run to gain some momentum but still trailed 75-70 with 34 seconds left in regulation. Nelson drove the lane for a pair of buckets before Carter found nylon from beyond the arc.
“We just didn’t make a couple of plays,” Barrick said. “I thought our kids came on the road in a hostile environment in front of a great crowd and played hard but we didn’t close the deal. We have nobody to blame but ourselves.”
Bell netted 22 points for the Red Devils. Tristan Miller and Griffin Downs each added nine.
Russell is off until Friday when it hosts Lewis County. The Musketeers will have a quick turnaround when they entertain Rowan County tonight. Amis said his team does not want to encounter a letdown after the big district win.
“My guys didn’t quit and that showed some toughness,” Amis said. “After some of the stretches that we have been down lately, that is a positive for me as a coach.”
Greenup County improves to 3-2 in district seeding games. The Red Devils drop to 2-3.
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RUSSELL FG FT REB TP
Jachimczuk 10-19 11-12 3 35
Bell 7-10 7-11 3 22
Miller 3-7 2-2 5 9
Cantrell 2-5 2-5 7 6
Bechtel 4-7 0-0 4 8
Quinn 0-0 0-0 0 0
Goodman 0-0 0-0 2 0
Downs 4-6 0-0 2 9
TOTALS 30-54 22-30 28 89
FG Pct: 55.6. FT Pct: 73.3. 3-point FGs: 7-15 (Jachimcuzk 4-6, Bell 1-2, Miller 1-4, Bechtel 0-1, Downs 1-2) PF: 17. Fouled out: Miller. Turnovers: 10.
GREENUP CO. FG FT REB TP
Zand. Carter 7-14 2-2 2 22
Zane Carter 2-2 1-2 2 5
Keeton 3-4 0-0 3 6
Nelson 9-21 8-9 1 27
Dryden 8-18 10-13 16 26
Burchett 2-2 0-0 0 6
TOTALS 31-61 21-26 27 92
FG Pct: 50.8. FT Pct: 80.8. 3-point FGs: 10-28 (Zand. Carter 6-13, Nelson 1-6, Dryden 1-7, Burchett 2-2) PF: 21. Fouled out: Burchett. Turnovers: 12.
RUSSELL 14 14 24 25 12 — 89
GREENUP CO. 14 9 23 31 15 — 92
Officials—Brian Keltner, Laine Hughes, Dave Fields