The old saying goes that you can throw out the win-loss records in rivalry games, and that sentiment held true Friday, Feb. 11 as the Lakers and Lady Lakers defended their home court with a pair of victories over their counterparts from the other side of Highway 80, the Adair County Indians.
Lady Lakers 66 Lady Indians 57
The first contest of the doubleheader featured two young teams that have struggled to consistently find the win column this season. The score was knotted at 26 through one half of play, but the Lady Lakers (8-17) were able to win this one at the free throw line, hitting 28 of 43 charity tries compared to Adair’s (5-16) five of 13.
“I’ve not seen a game where the foul discrepancy was like that,” says Adair head coach Jerald Bryant. “This was our third time playing them this year, and this one was probably officiated a little differently. We had been playing very aggressive and very physical, and we’d been allowed a bit of leeway, but a 32-12 foul discrepancy is a lot.”
Ellie Cheatham led the Lady Indians in both points (18) and rebounds (eight). Hannah West and Arianna Jones joined Cheatham in double figures with 12 and 11, respectively. Sarai Collins (six), Carli Carter (five), Laney Stotts (three), and Kaylee Campbell (two) rounded out the scoring for Adair.
Jaterria Coffey paced the Russell County effort with 13 points, followed by Rachel Bolin with 12 and Hannah Yates with 10. Aniyah Coffey (nine), Karley Luttrell (seven), Sophie Shearer (six, with a team-high eight rebounds), Maleah Preston (six) and Addison Hart (three) filled out the Lady Laker box score.
Despite the outcome, Bryant was pleased with how his girls competed in a tough road atmosphere.
“This was a hostile environment, a packed house, very loud, and I thought we held our focus throughout the game, regardless of outside factors or officiating,” Bryant says. “Even when the score was stretched out, they’re up eight or 10, we continued to fight all the way through.”
Lakers 74 Indians 62
The boys’ matchup–on paper–looked to be heavily in Adair’s favor, as the Indians came into the contest sporting a 13-9 record compared to Russell’s 3-19. Games are not played on paper, however, they’re played on hardwood, and Russell was the better team in this one.
“That was probably one of the best games we’ve played all year,” says Greg Lundy, the Lakers’ head coach. “We did on on both ends, offense and defense, and we shared the ball. It was a great crowd, great atmosphere, both teams played hard, and it ended up being a really good game.”
The young duo of sophomore Trace Stringer and freshman Mayes Gosser did almost everything for Russell County, pouring in 28 and 25 points, respectively. The pair combined to hit 17 of 26 shot attempts, and Gosser added a team-high seven boards.
Braydon Cerato added 10 points, Owen Loy eight (to go with five assists), and Mason Gosser three to complete the Russell County box score.
“If you look at most of the games we’ve lost this year, we’ve been winning or just down a few at halftime most of the time,” Lundy adds. “This particular night, maybe because it’s a rivalry game, we were able to pull it out.”
Adair County, per usual, were led by the high-scoring trio of Lucas Pooler, Connor Loy, and Luke Janes, who accounted for 22, 20, and 16 points, respectively. Janes added a team-leading six rebounds, while Pooler and Loy each dished out four assists. Brady Cundiff (two) and J.B. Piatt (two) were the only other Indians to find the scoring column.