MOREHEAD Mason Moore passed the ball, and Rowan County missed the shot.

"Mason, shoot the ball!" Vikings assistant coach Andrew Zaheri yelled as the Vikings dropped back on defense on Monday night at Warren G. Cooper Gymnasium.

Rowan County's senior point guard obliged the next time down the floor, and the Vikings were off and running.

Moore's 3-pointer two minutes into the third quarter started a 22-2 Rowan County burst as the Vikings erased a two-point deficit to Elliott County to beat the Lions, 59-41.

Moore totaled 21 points and 10 rebounds in the win. He's in his first year as Rowan County's point guard and is learning the balance of the facilitating role of that position with his own ability -- and responsibility -- to score.

"It's a big difference from last year to this year," Moore said. "I didn't really have to worry about getting other people involved, I was just the main scorer. This year, I'm trying to get everybody involved. It's a big difference, but I think I'm doing a little better. Coach (Shawn) Thacker's kinda guided me through it."

Zaheri -- filling in calling the shots for Thacker, who is in quarantine and said by text message he expects to get out Wednesday -- said Moore is ahead of expectations in his transition to point guard.

"He has a really good feel as far as the pressure of the team," Zaheri said of Moore. "If he feels like somebody's down, he's wanting to try to get them involved, but at the same time, he's gotta realize we've gotta go through him as well."

Elliott County led by as many as six points in the second quarter. Gatlin Griffith's pull-up jumper through contact put the Lions up, 18-12, with 3:42 to go in the first half.

But Rowan County outscored Elliott County 47-23 the rest of the way, aided by a stretch of 9 minutes and 46 seconds in which the Lions only made one field goal.

"Our defense right now is where it needs to be," Lions coach Greg Adkins said. "Obviously we got room to get better, (but) rebounding the ball, it feels like we hold our own. The ball will go in the basket. You can't make that stuff happen. Just kinda gotta play it out."

Robert Todd, a first-year Viking listed at 6-foot-7 who is the son of Morehead State women's coach Greg Todd, chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds. His 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer and his trey 41 seconds into the fourth frame accelerated Rowan County's (6-1) separation.

"The first half, credit to Elliott County, they played really good defense," Zaheri said. "We shot the ball pretty poorly, and I still feel like we allow our offensive success to dictate our tempo. Once we started seeing the ball go through the rim a little bit, I think it opened it up for everybody."

Concurred Moore on the Lions: "They play tough defense. They run different defenses, which we haven't really seen a whole lot of different defenses this year, it's mostly just man. They run a lot of run-and-jump. It'll help us in the long run."

Griffith scored 13 points to pace the Lions (2-5). Rowan County held Bryson Dickerson and Hunter Lyons, who were both averaging in double figures through Elliott County's first five games, to a combined 11 points.

"Rowan County knew where Hunter was at, and they knew where Bryson was at," Adkins said. "Made it tough on those guys. It's just a matter of learning and getting through a COVID season. Just go play."

Zaheri has some familiarity with the top spot on the bench. He was Danville's coach from 2011-13 and generally plays a large role in in-game coaching even when Thacker is around.

"The great thing about working with this coaching staff is," Zaheri said, "coach Thacker is so confident in himself that if any of his assistants have an idea or a suggestion, he lets us run with it."

Rowan County beat Elliott County for the first time since Jan. 14, 2016. The Lions had won the last three in the series.

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zklemme@dailyindependent.com

ELLIOTT CO. FG FT REB TP

E. Griffith 2-6 0-0 3 6

Whitt 1-5 0-0 2 2

G. Griffith 5-11 0-1 4 13

Lyons 1-10 3-6 6 5

Dickerson 2-7 2-4 4 6

Whitley 1-2 0-0 1 2

Buckner 2-3 0-0 2 4

Adams 1-2 0-0 0 3

Brickey 0-0 0-0 0 0

Reeves 0-0 0-0 1 0

Team 5

TOTAL 15-46 5-11 28 41

FG Pct.: 32.6. FT Pct.: 45.5. 3-pointers: 6-22 (G. Griffith 3-6, E. Griffith 2-6, Adams 1-2, Whitt 0-3, Lyons 0-2, Dickerson 0-2, Whitley 0-1). PF: 13. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 15.

ROWAN CO. FG FT REB TP

Justice 0-2 0-0 1 0

Alderman 3-7 1-2 4 7

Moore 8-15 2-2 10 21

Goodpaster 2-4 0-0 1 6

Todd 5-9 1-4 8 13

Gardner 1-3 1-1 2 3

Tackett 0-1 0-0 0 0

Fannin 2-2 0-0 1 4

Lucas 0-0 0-0 0 0

Perkins 0-0 0-0 0 0

Blevins 0-0 0-0 1 0

Ingles 0-0 0-0 0 0

Hampton 1-1 0-0 0 2

Wilburn 1-1 0-0 0 3

Team 3

TOTAL 23-45 5-9 31 59

FG Pct.: 51.1. FT Pct.: 55.6. 3-pointers: 8-20 (Moore 3-6, Goodpaster 2-3, Todd 2-4, Wilburn 1-1, Justice 0-2, Alderman 0-1, Gardner 0-2, Tackett 0-1). PF: 14. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 12.

ELLIOTT CO. 7 11 7 16 -- 41

ROWAN CO. 9 10 17 23 -- 59

Officials: Joe Coldiron, Jeremy Ruckel and Randy Smith.

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