MOREHEAD Mason Moore missed his first six shots for Rowan County on Thursday night, but once he found the bottom of the net on a transition layup just over six minutes into play he was dialed in.

The Vikings junior finished with a game-high 26 points, 12 rebounds, and nine blocks in Rowan County’s 56-36 win over East Carter.

With the win, the Vikings advanced to their sixth straight 16th Region Tournament semifinal.

It didn’t come without a fight from the Raiders, who kept the score within reach through three quarters.

A Moore layup with six seconds remaining in the third sparked a 15-2 Rowan County run into the final frame.

From there, it was all Vikings as they earned a date with undefeated Ashland in Monday night’s region semifinal.

“I thought fourth quarter we just got really tired, and we lost our legs,” East Carter coach Brandon Baker said. “Our execution slipped, our decision-making kind of slipped, and teams like Rowan County are going to take advantage and that’s just what they did.

“We showed up to win the game, and that’s all I can ask from my guys.”

A game that saw three ties and six lead changes in the first half had none in the second half.

The Vikings totaled 10 fast-break points in the fourth quarter as they pulled away down the stretch.

“Defensively, we've been pretty good all year,” Rowan County coach Shawn Thacker said. “I think we’re top 20, somewhere in that neighborhood, in the state in defense.

“I think our guys do a really good job on that end. When we defend and we rebound and we take advantage of our opportunities to run is when we’re pretty good.”

Rowan County also benefited from the return of Chase Alderman in the second half, as the sophomore played just four first-half minutes due to foul trouble.

“We had Chase the whole second half, and that was a big factor,” Thacker said. “Our philosophy there was if the wheels weren’t falling off the wagon, let’s get him in the second half.

“He’s a big part of our offense, and it kind of limited us because we don’t play without him a whole lot.”

Alderman was scoreless in the first half, but finished with 10 points.

The story of the game though was Moore. His nine blocks played a bigger factor in possessions where he didn’t record a block, as he was able to impact the mentality of the East Carter (11-16) offense.

“When we got it in the lane and down around the basket, he was a presence,” Baker said. “We played with him in our minds, we were always trying to find him, and kind of hesitated on shots and broke our rhythm on shots.

“He was good last year, but his development to this year … credit that guy for working, man, because I think he’s a heck of a player right now.”

Only a block away from a triple-double, Moore had statistically the performance of the tournament thus far.

“They might have missed one,” Thacker said with a laugh. “We’re debating if they missed one or not on the stats, we might have to go back and look at the stat sheet.

“He’s just a great player, and an even better kid. You could not ask for a better kid to coach, and he’ll come in Saturday and he’ll work his tail off and do anything you ask him to do.”

ROWAN CO.    FG    FT    REB    TP

Davidson    3-4    0-0    4    7

Cox    3-5    0-1    2    8

Alderman    3-5    4-5    2    10

Moore    7-18    9-10    12    26

Tabor    1-4    0-0    0    3

Gamble    0-0    0-0    1    0

Gardner    0-1    0-0    0    0

Maxey    1-1    0    0    2

Goodpaster    0-1    0-0    2    0

TOTALS    18-39    13-16    29    56

FG Pct.: 27.1. FT Pct.: 66.7. 3-point FGs: 2-10 (Hicks 1-2, Tussey 1-4, Adams 0-2, Damron 0-1, Goodman 0-1). PF: 14. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 8.

E. CARTER    FG    FT    REB    TP

Adams    2-11    5-6    3    9

Hicks    2-3    0-0    4    5

Tussey    3-11    1-2    3    8

Damron    2-5    0-0    2    4

Binion    3-10    2-4    10    8

Goodman    0-1    0-0    0    0

Cline    1-2    0-0    2    2

Miller    0-3    0-0    2    0

Pope    0-1    0-0    1    0

Walker    0-1    0-0    0    0

TOTALS    13-48    8-12    30    36

FG Pct.: 46.2. FT Pct.: 81.3. 3-point FGs: 7-17 (Moore 3-7, Cox 2-2, Davidson 1-2, Tabor 1-4, Gardner 0-1, Goodpaster 0-1). PF: 11. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 10.

ROWAN CO.    10    8    19    19    —    56

E. CARTER    9    9    11    7    —    36

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