The LaRue County Hawks Basketball Team defeated two Fifth Region rivals last week, beating Campbellsville High School 63-58 and Green County High School 59-44.
The Hawks improved their record to 9-3 with a 63-58 victory over rival Campbellsville High School Jan. 4.
“I was a little concerned before the game,” said Head Coach Paul Childress. “The guys were really quiet, I didn't know if they were really ready to play. But they proved early on that they were. We came out in the first quarter and did what we needed to do, jump out on them early.”
The Hawks came out hot in the first quarter, jumping to leads of 14-7 and 20-7, mostly on the three-point shooting of sophomore Kelton Ford and junior guard Kyle Sheeran.
Coach Tim Davis' Campbellsville Eagles came back in the second quarter behind the play of the Eagles' Jordan Percell. The 6'7” center dominated the lane, bringing the Eagles to a six-point deficit at halftime 34-28.
After halftime, the Hawks came out in a 1-3-1 zone that seemed to confuse the Eagles, with the Hawks extending their lead to nine points early in the third quarter. The game stayed close in the fourth quarter with the Hawks maintaining a four to eight point lead with neither team gaining much momentum. The Hawks simply could not control Percell under the basket with three Hawks, Ryan Whitlock, Chase Reynolds and Jonathon Firquin, fouling out trying to stop him. The Hawks were able to maintain the lead at the end of the game with excellent free throw shooting, hitting 13 of 17 free throws.
Ford led the Hawks in scoring with 24 points on four 3-pointers; Sheeran had 16 points while Ryan Whitlock, continuing with his improving play, had eight points and six rebounds. Senior Dylan Parr had eight points, Chase Reynolds six, and Kyle Meredith one.
Percell led the Eagles with 25 points.
Coach Childress was pleased with his team's effort.
“We talked about pushing the ball in transition and I thought our guards did a good job of that. Kelton and Kyle Sheeran came out focused tonight and got our offense going.”
Whitlock gave “an athletic presence in transition” and is finishing his shots inside now.
Childress called the win a “total team effort.”
“Some things don't show up on the stat sheet but guys like Jonathon Firquin, Dylan Parr, Chase Reynolds and Kyle Meredith make important plays on both offense and defense that gives us chances to win,” he added. “That's what I can say about this group right now, they are playing as a team. Guys are willing to do the little things that help us win. We are still a work in progress, many areas we still need to improve on, but I like the effort that I am getting from this group right now.”
In the Jan. 7 face-off with the Green County Dragons, the chances of the Hawks pulling out another win were looking slim. Going into the fourth quarter, the Hawks led by one point.
“This was one of those games where we were not very sharp,” said Childress. “We played a sloppy game for the first three quarters. I think the guys came out thinking that beating Green County was going to be an easy task. Green County came out and made us play the way they wanted us to play. I have to give credit to Coach Geralds that he had his team ready to play.”
The Hawks defeated the Dragons 59-44.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first half with the Hawks maintaining a three-to-five point lead throughout the half and continued to struggle in the third quarter. LaRue scored only nine points in the third quarter taking a one-point lead into the last frame. The Hawks hit their stride in the fourth quarter, scoring 21 points to the Dragons' seven.
Sheeran scored 16 points Dylan Parr having best game of the season with 14 points.
“Dylan Parr got us going in the first quarter,” said Childress. “He made some big shots that got our offense going. He is capable of knocking down open shots and hopefully this game will give him a lot of confidence.”
Reynolds also scored in double figures with 11 points; Ford had eight points and Whitlock six. Meredith and Firquin scored two each.
“Chase Reynolds had a shaky start, but finished strong for us, especially in the second half,” said Childress. “He hit the boards and finished around the basket. Kyle Sheeran stepped it up in the fourth quarter for us as well and Kelton Ford made some clutch free throws in the fourth quarter.”
While pleased with the outcome of the game and the Hawks' play in the fourth quarter, Coach Childress feels there's room for improvement.
“We continue to improve but at the same time we still have to become a more consistent team on both ends. We have been playing in spurts but I kind of expected that out of a young and inexperienced team. As long as our guys realize we must keep working hard to get better because other teams around us are going to get better as well. But I was very proud of our guys hanging tough until we were able to stretch it out in the fourth. You want teams that find a way to win even when they don't play their best basketball that night. That is always a mark of a good team.”