By Grant Stevens - Sports Editor
Dec. 5, 2012 —
After taking on top-ranked Fleming County in the first round of this year’s EKC Tournament, West Carter traveled to West Liberty Monday night for a consolation-round matchup with a familiar foe.
West’s boys were unable to avoid their third loss of the season, falling to Lewis County in a foul-ridden game, 81-71.
The real story of the night turned out to be the game’s deciding factor: free throws.
In a year that the KHSAA is implementing stricter policies on fouls, the Lions made the most of the opportunity, connecting on 33-of-36 attempts from the charity stripe to account for 41 percent of their points.
The Comets were 17-of-25 from the free throw line, respectively.
West Carter Head Coach Jeremy Webb commented on the quick whistles during the game.
“That’s just the way the game is being called right now and everyone is just going to have to learn to adjust accordingly,” Webb said. “Free throws were a difference tonight, and we’re just going to have to learn to keep our hands off and contest shots but do that straight up.”
Though the game was always close, Lewis County led throughout.
Senior guard Kyle Brown had another outstanding night for the Comets, piling on 31 points, hitting the mark on 13-of-16 free throws.
Trailing 38-32 at the half, Brown and fellow senior Dustin Black helped to keep the Comets close as the Lions threatened to pull away.
With less than two minutes to go in the third, a layup by Lewis County’s Jake Parker pushed the Lions lead to 10 at 54-44.
Black blazed the comeback trail with a jumper before Brown went on a nine-point tear to pull the Comets within one, before Parker responded with a three-pointer to give the Lions a five-point cushion to end the period.
Though Brown was able to cut the lead to two with a quick jumper and free throw to start the fourth, the Comets couldn’t overcome the accurate free throw shooting of its former 62nd District rival.
Brown was joined in double figures by junior guard Jacob Layne, who had a solid night with 16 points, and Black, who contributed 11. Freshman guard Braiden Brown also chipped in off the bench with seven.
Brett Ruckel led the way for the Lions with 21 points.
A team trying to fill a lot of voids from last season, Webb said he is seeing improvement in his squad.
“We lost a lot last year, and it’s tough to replace that,” Webb said. “Right now it’s about these guys gaining experience for us. We’ve got good basketball players who don’t necessarily have a lot of experience, but that is going to come as they get more time on the court.”
Following the loss, West Carter hopes to gain its footing next Thursday when they return to the friendly confines of Hop Brown Court to take on district opponent Morgan County.
Grant Stevens can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.