Miranda H. Lewis
Carter County Times
In one last regular season matchup before the 62nd District boys’ basketball tournament begins on Tuesday, the East Carter Raiders had to find a way past Lewis County at home.
Fueled by solid team play, the Raiders did just that in a 55-41 victory over the Lions in a 16th Region matchup on Monday.
“This was our fifth game in eight days and credit to our guys, I don’t feel like we started off the way that we wanted to,” said East Carter coach Cole Brammer.
“Fortunately, we were able to go on and change the momentum, changed the pace and it seemed to speed things up and got us some baskets,” he added.
The Raiders (18-9, 5-1 62nd District) were led by 23 points from Blake Hall and 17 from Evan Goodman, while Gavin Sexton finished with seven and Tate Scott and Connor Skaggs chipped in four a piece.
After withering in adversity with less than two minutes remaining in the second frame, the Raiders steadied themselves and rebuilt their lead to go into halftime up 26-20.
Sexton led the Raiders in scoring at intermission with seven points followed by Hall and Goodman with six points respectively.
The Raiders have proven they can score points in bunches this season and that quality was certainly on display on Monday evening as they scored 16 points in the final stanza – nine of which were tallied by Hall – to seal the win over the Lions.
Goodman and Hall closed the game from the free throw line. The pair clutched six free throws in the game’s closing seconds deflating any of the Lions’ hopes to offer some type of counterpunch.
The Raider’s performed very well from the charity stripe, shooting 80 percent for the contest.
Lewis County had good production on the offensive end for the entirety of the game, but the Raiders always countered.
Andrew Collins paced the Lions with 14 points, followed by Drew Noble with ten points.
East Carter displayed rock-solid defense to extend their win streak to five in a row. The change in the Raiders defensive intensity late in the second quarter created pressure on the Lion guards and forced turnovers, which East Carter capitalized on.
Brammer was pleased with his squad’s defensive performance.
“I feel like it was important for us because we’ve not been in a lot of full court stuff here lately. To be able to call that out in a time out and to get in it and to extend it, that’s good and that’s what we needed,” he said.
The Raiders gave their home fans the type of performance needed with the district playoffs looming, a strong finish with lots of effort.
The win sets the stage for a crucial first-round clash between the Raiders and the Elliott County Lions (3-24, 0-6 62nd District).
After the Lewis County game, Brammer stated that his Raiders would benefit from a two-day game break in preparation for their upcoming contest against Boyd County.
“We have to recoup, regain our focus, effort and energy to get ourselves prepared for that game,” he said.
However, due to flooding and high water, the Raiders final home game of the regular season against the Lions last Thursday was cancelled, giving them a full week to rest and prepare for postseason play.
The 62nd District boys’ games are set to begin with first-round games on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by the championship game on Friday.
The Raiders swept the regular season series against the Elliott County Lions. The district rivals will take to the hardwood Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. at Morgan County High School.
The Morgan County Cougars will host the West Carter Comets the following night at 6:30 p.m.
East Carter 14 12 13 16 – 55
Lewis Co. 16 4 8 13 – 41
East Carter (55) – Hall 23, Goodman 17, Sexton 7, Skaggs 4, Tate Scott 4. FG Pct: 40.4. FT Pct: 80.0. 3-Pointers: 5-18 (Ty Scott 0-0, Tate Scott 0-0, Skaggs 0-2, Hall 1-1, Sexton 1-3, Goodman 3-8). Fouled out: None.
Lewis County (41) – Collins 14, Noble 10, Box 5, Prater 4, Puente 3, McGlone 3, Tackett 2. FG Pct: 38.1. FT Pct: 62.5. 3-Pointers: 4-16 (Collins 2-4, Puente 1-2, Box 1-3, Tackett 0-3, McGlone 0-4). Fouled out: None.