By: Greg Bird
Turnovers and rebounding, combined with a sub-par shooting performance doomed the Lady Raiders Monday night as they fell to the Russell County Lady Lakers, 62-49.
Both teams struggled to get the ball into the basket throughout the game, but Russell County controlled the offensive boards and took advantage of second-chance points to pull away for the eventual win.
Lady Raider Coach Darry Burkett say the offense isn’t a concern for the team at this point, but improving the defense is a top priority in the coming weeks.
“The offense will take care of itself,” he said. “The girls are frustrated right now because they are learning my system, but I have no doubt that will take care of itself come January.”
“We gave up 14 offensive rebounds, you can’t beat the Washington Generals doing that. We have got to be able to guard the drive and rebound the ball. If we do those two things, everything will come together. The elements are there for a good high school basketball team come January, I just hope everyone is patient and lets them do that.”
“We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we have the makings of a good basketball team. “
The Lady Raiders kept pace with Russell County in the first quarter, despite six turnovers, and only trailed by 3 points at the end of the period. But, turnovers and missed shots continued to plague McCreary as the game progressed.
After a Lauryn Phillips’ three-pointer early in the second quarter cut the lead down to two, the Lady Lakers held McCreary scoreless throughout the remainder of the period with a 9-0 run to take a 29-18 lead into halftime.
The two teams traded baskets throughout the third quarter, with neither squad able to find the edge over the other. By the end of the quarter Russell County still held a comfortable lead, 49-34.
The Lady Raiders attempted to mount a small comeback in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, cutting the lead down to 8-points with just over five minutes to play, but Russell County called a time out and broke the momentum.
The Lady Lakers outpaced McCreary 13-8 down the final stretch to preserve the 62-49 win.
The Lady Raiders shot a disappointing 38 percent (17-44) from the floor Monday night, including just 20 percent (3-15) from behind the arc.
Kaylee Cotton led all scorers with 23 points for the Lady Raiders, followed by Cierra Terry with 10, Paige Neal with 7, Cyndol Kiser with 4, Lauryn Phillips with 3 and Haley Jones with 2.
The loss was the Lady Raiders’ second in a row, dropping their record to 1-2 to start the season. Saturday evening McCreary traveled to Harlan County where they fell 78-51, despite a 31-point performance from Cotton.
Thursday night the Lady Raiders will play their first home game of the young season when they host District rival Wayne County. The Lady Cardinals have opened the season with three consecutive losses.
Next Monday McCreary travels to Model before returning home next Thursday where they will host Campbellsville.