VANCEBURG Raceland guard Kyle Broughton returned from a four-week absence and only took two shots from the field Sunday at Lewis County. It was the second shot that was the sweetheart in the Rams’ 61-58 Valentine’s Day victory.
Broughton drained a deep 3-pointer from the right wing that gave the Rams a 59-58 lead with 25 seconds to play. The Lions had one final chance but committed a turnover and Kirk Pence knocked down two clutch free throws for a 61-58 advantage with 3 seconds to play.
Kolby McCann missed a 3 at the buzzer for the Lions as the Rams improved to 2-0 in 63rd District play.
Rams coach Bob Trimble was happy to get Broughton back on the floor.
“Kyle has been out for four weeks and steps up and hits a huge shot for us,” he said. “We are still ironing things out as a team. We have only played nine games this season. Kyle can score the ball for us and we need him the rest of the season.”
The matchup was tightly contested from the start, with both teams shooting the ball well in the opening half. Lewis County took a 16-15 lead after one quarter with both teams 6 of 11 from the field. A key play occurred late in the first quarter as the Lions leading scorer McCann picked up his second foul.
Lewis County coach Scott Tackett decided to sit McCann the whole second quarter and it proved to be a wise decision. The Lions, behind three consecutive baskets by Bailey Thomas, stayed within two points at the half, trailing 30-28. But Pence started to heat up for the Rams as he scored eight of his team high 29 points in the stanza.
“I learned my lesson against Bracken County when he fouled out with seven minutes to go in the game,” Tackett said of McCann. “We need him on the floor. We decided if we could stay within a couple buckets or two we would ride with the group on the floor.”
The third quarter was more of the same as the two teams traded baskets. With the Rams leading 40-38, big man Gavin Reed got an old fashioned three-point play and a Pence jumper to take 45-43 lead into the deciding quarter of play.
This was where the fun started. Lions lefty Trey Gerike got a putback basket to start what looked to be a decisive 16-3 run at the beginning of the quarter. A corner 3 from Logan Liles gave the Lions the lead and Gerike added seven more points in the run and Lewis County held a 57-48 lead with less than three minutes to play. The Lions’ full-court pressure caused three straight Ram turnovers.
“We are not as deep as I would like, so we can press that much,” Tackett said. “It was very effective and gave us a great opportunity to win the game.”
The Rams had one last run left. Andrew Floyd drained a trey and couple of free throws and Pence’s driving basket and two free throws set the stage for Broughton’s heroics. Trimble was impressed by his team’s resilience.
“Our kids fought back with some big baskets and some nice defensive plays,” Trimble said. “Kirk and Andrew made big plays down the stretch and that is what we expect from them. I thought Andrew was very efficient in all areas of the game today.”
Tackett lamented another game lost down the stretch.
“It has been a theme for us. We are just having trouble closing out games,” the Lions’ coach said. “We try to put trust in our guys and we will continue to do that. We have to make our free throws and make the plays to win games. We are 7-7 and could easily be 10-4. Give credit to Raceland and Kirk Pence. Pence is a hard cover for any team in the region.”
Added Trimble: “It was a good win for us. I feel like we have a high ceiling and hopefully we can get games played the rest of the season. Any win in Vanceburg is nice to get.”
Pence led all scorers with 29 points to lead Raceland and Floyd added an efficient 14 points on 5 of 7 shooting.
A trio of perimeter players led the way for the Lions as Gerike scored 18, Liles 14 and Thomas 13. The Lions fell to 1-2 in district play.
RACELAND FG FT REB TP
Pence 8-15 12-14 7 29
Broughton 1-2 0-0 1 3
Floyd 5-7 2-2 3 14
Gauze 1-2 0-0 3 2
Gallion 0-1 0-0 3 0
Perkins 2-7 0-0 1 6
Newman 0-0 0-0 0 0
Reed 3-3 1-3 4 7
TOTAL 20-37 15-19 22 61
FG Pct.: 54.1. 3-pointers: 6-14 (Floyd 2-3, Perkins 2-6, Broughton 1-2, Pence 1-3). Turnovers: 13.
LEWIS CO. FG FT REB TP
McCann 3-6 0-1 2 7
Liles 5-12 2-2 2 14
Gerike 5-10 6-8 2 18
Burriss 0-0 0-0 0 0
Spencer 0-3 1-2 4 1
Thomas 4-8 5-8 3 13
Noble 1-2 0-0 2 2
Jordan 1-1 0-0 0 2
TOTAL 19-42 14-21 15 58
FG Pct.: 45.2. 3-pointers: 4-10 (Liles 2-6, Gerike 2-2, Thomas 0-1, McCann 0-1). Turnovers 10. Fouls: 14.
Officials: Dave Fields, Roy Wright and Jeff Callihan.