Maroons spoil home opener
The final score doesn’t reflect the competitiveness of Tuesday night’s home opener for the Raiders.
Though Pulaski County seemed to have dominated with a 69-43 win, McCreary gave all they had and kept the Maroons on their toes all night.
The Raiders had plenty of opportunities to challenge Pulaski County more closely, but failed to capitalize on them with poor shooting all night long.
McCreary outrebounded the Maroons 34-28 in the ball game, including 16 under the offensive boards, but that advantage didn’t pan out like it should as second-chance points were few and far between,
“We were competitive,” Raiders Coach Robert Jones said after the game. “We just couldn’t score.”
“I was pleased with the effort on the floor, but not pleased with the result. We played aggressively and kept our heads up. And if some shots started dropping, who knows what could have happened.”
The Raiders shot a disappointing 36 percent from the floor, hitting only 17 of 47 shot attempts. The Maroons, on the other hand, shot 56 percent from the floor (27-48).
Another big factor in the lopsided score was the free throw shooting – or lack thereof. The Raiders missed 18 free throws, hitting only 7 of 25 attempts from the charity stripe.
“That is particularly frustrating,” Jones said. “We specifically worked on free throws the day before the game. If we make those, we are right in the game with them.”
The Raiders played well throughout the game, but couldn’t seem to get a handle on the high-pressure defense the Maroons threw at them.
Pressing from the start, Pulaski County forced 17 McCreary turnovers in the game, many of that total in the first quarter, allowing them to take a 21-12 lead after the first 8 minutes.
The Raiders hit a particularly bad dry spell in the second quarter, hitting only two baskets – a three-point shot from Devin Strunk, and a lay-in from John Cash.
At the intermission the Maroons led 38-17.
The Raiders stepped it up in the third quarter, ramping up their aggressive play and it started to pay dividends. McCreary players went to the line nine times in the quarter, but only hit 5 of their 17 attempts from the free throw line, allowing the Maroons to put further distance between the two teams.
The loss drops the Raiders’ record to 1-3 to open the season.
They will host Danville Friday night at 7:30, then travel to Pulaski on Monday where they will play Burgin County. Next Thursday McCreary will play at Somerset, then open the annual Arby’s/KFC Holiday Classic a week from Saturday.
21 17 18 13 – 69
12 5 9 17 – 43
H. Jones -8,
Troxell – 2,
T. Phillips -2,
C. Phillips -2,
Raiders 84 –
The Raiders win this season came last Friday with a 84-50 win over Middlesboro at the Barbourville Tournament.
McCreary jumped to a 10-point lead and never looked back over the Mountaineers in the contest.
Led by Devin Strunk with 16 points, the Raiders finished with four players scoring in double digits: Hamilton -16, H. Jones -16, Kidd -12.
The win was sandwiched between a 73-56 loss to Oneida Baptist and a 88-45 loss to Barbourville in the tourney to open the season.