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Burgess, seniors guide Devils past Eagles

Feb. 14—RUSSELL — Russell celebrated Senior Night on Tuesday, but it was an eighth-grader who turned heads in a 77-61 win over Fairview.

Ryder Burgess sank four 3s and helped spark a third-quarter run that made the difference in the game.

"Ryder came off the bench and gave good minutes," Russell coach Derek Cooksey said. "He did a great job. I thought Joe Kaczmarcyk's defense tonight was really really good on Tamel Smith. Tate Fleming played well against (Bubba) Day. I'm proud of my kids, because you know come tournament time, it really comes down to defense and basically doing the little things."

While the first two baskets of the third quarter gave Fairview its first lead of the night, it was a 9-0 run from the Red Devils that eventually put the home squad up 43-36.

"It had a lot to do with inexperience," Fairview coach Clarence Thompson said about the difference in the game. "In the mid third quarter, when were up, we were controlled a little bit But then when some of our guys aren't hitting the shots, we got to move the ball around a little bit more to the open guy. We did that at the beginning of the game. That's why we were only down three at halftime and that's how we went up there at one point."

Following an Eagles timeout, Burgess decided to go off from behind the arc.

The guard, who entered the contest averaging four points per game, drained a trio of 3s on three straight possessions.

On the next trip down the court, Burgess kicked it out to Quentin Hewlett for another 3 to give Russell a 55-40 advantage.

"We really challenged our guys," Cooksey said. "Fairview's a really good offensive team. They've got two guys that can go get 20 or 30 every night. But I thought our defense kind of set the tone. We challenged our guys at halftime that we really had to pick up our defense intensity. I think that in the third quarter we established that"

The Red Devils' lead was 57-42 to start the fourth quarter and the hill became too steep to climb for Fairview.

The hill was flat ground to start the game. The score knotted up 16-16 by the end of the first frame.

Fairview was lifted by four 3s in the frame, a pair from Tanner Reihs and one each from Bubba Day and Roman Mays.

"We're doing what we need to do toward districts right now," Thompson said. "We want to go out and play our game, do what we do best, and practice. But we just kind of ran out. We ran out when we started missing shots and free throws. We can't do that and be competitive, because we don't have much depth. I got (Austin) Pack out with a broken foot, Chris Harper and Eli Shope out sick. So, it's tough when you have three guys out and you're bringing JV players in and trying to win."

Tatum Fleming had a hot hand in the opening quarter. He made three baskets in quick succession to give Russell an early 8-2 lead.

Fleming extended his point total to 11 by the end of the first half.

Caleb Rimmer got in on the action for the Red Devils, collecting seven points in the second quarter, along with four rebounds, to give Russell a 31-28 halftime advantage.

The Eagles didn't have the same success in the second quarter from the 3-point line as they did in the first, going 0-3 in the frame.

"We run a multiple defensive system based on personnel," Cooksey said. "We really practice and preach our defensive, man-to-man principles and they apply defensively to the zones and our guys have bought in. I think that if you look at our schedule here as of late, I think we're starting to understand that if we play good, solid defense that our offense becomes better."

Day found the bottom of the net three times in the paint, which gave him 12 points in the first half.

Day led the night with 20 points. Thompson hopes that, with improvements, the team can make a run in the district tournament.

"I think we need to improve on our rebounding and our shot selection at certain times," Thompson said. "And improve defensively. I believe with the toughness of the practices, we'll be doing that come the 26th when we play Ashland. Our first game against Ashland, at our place, we were down five with 3:44 to go and had the ball three times but couldn't convert either time. So, if we play our game, if Aiden (Dailey) steps up like I know he can, I think we'll be alright."

Fleming led Russell with 17. The Red Devils saw points from eight different players, as the home team managed to successfully spread the ball around.

"It's a very unique perspective here," Cooksey said of the multiple scoring options. "We've got four seniors. They're very valuable to our program. They play really important roles on and off the floor and they've accepted these younger kids. And they're all really good friends. It doesn't happen too often like that, but it's something we've been growing in our culture and our program and it just continues to help us basically have success."

FAIRVIEW FG FT REB TP

Day 8-17 2-3 8 20

Smith 7-16 1-6 5 18

Reihs 3-6 0-0 1 8

Mays 3-7 0-0 0 7

Dailey 3-3 0-0 2 6

Manning 1-5 0-0 9 2

Williams 0-0 0-0 1 0

Team 5

TOTAL 25-54 3-9 31 61

FG Pct.: 46.2. FT Pct.: 33.3. 3-pointers: 8-22 (Smith 3-9, Day 2-3, Reihs 2-5, Mays 1-3, Manning 0-2). PF: 10. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 15.

RUSSELL FG FT REB TP

Fleming 8-19 0-1 3 17

Neel 4-8 5-6 5 15

Kaczmarcyk 5-9 2-2 6 14

Burgess 4-6 0-0 0 12

Rimmer 5-10 1-4 12 12

Hewlett 1-2 0-0 0 3

Quinn 0-1 2-2 3 2

Pridemore 1-1 0-0 3 2

Benge 0-1 0-0 0 0

Team 1

TOTAL 28-57 10-15 33 77

FG Pct.: 49.1. FT Pct.: 66.6. 3-pointers: 11-21 (Burgess 4-5, Kaczmarcyk 2-3, Neel 2-4, Rimmer 1-1, Hewlett 1-2, Fleming 1-5.). PF: 9. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 10.

FAIRVIEW 16 12 14 19 — 61

RUSSELL 16 15 26 20 — 77

(606) 326-2658 — wadams@dailyindependent.com