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Russell withstands Lewis rally, 57-49

Jan. 26—RUSSELL — Russell freshman Elijah Neel pulled off his best Nikola Jokic impression on Friday night at Marvin Meredith Gymnasium.

Just as Jokic did for the Nuggets against the Knicks on Thursday night with an over-the-head reverse pass, Neel delivered a dime in a similar manner to Tatum Fleming. The dazzling assist led to a Fleming bucket plus-one as Fleming drew a foul and sank the free throw.

The basket put Russell ahead by five, sparking the Red Devils to a strong finish in a 57-49 win over Lewis County. Russell is now 2-0 against the 63rd District foe — the Devils beat the Lions in a 54-52 thriller in Vanceburg on Jan. 5. Russell improved to 3-1 in district play. Lewis County is 0-2.

Neel led Russell (10-7) with 20 points on Friday. He was 6 of 7 from the foul line as the team notched a 15-of-18 effort from the charity stripe.

"We've worked on that hard," said Russell coach Derek Cooksey. "Our goal is to shoot at least 70(%). We get in these tight games, you gotta knock down opportunities."

Fleming tossed in 11 points. Tyler Cordial came in off the bench and tallied eight rebounds.

"Tyler Cordial came in and gave us really valuable minutes," Cooksey said. "He really helps us on the defensive end and, offensively, he's a big kid who can get second-chance opportunities."

Drew Noble paced Lewis County (5-9) with 19 points. He added seven boards. The Lions' leading scorer (12.8 points per game) didn't scratch the scoring column until the 2:45-mark of the second quarter.

"I challenged him at halftime tonight," said Lions coach Scott Tackett. "He's the premiere big man in the region and he has to play like it, and I thought he accepted the challenge in the second half and played strong through the post."

Xavier Prater contributed 14 points and eight glass grabs.

Braedyn "Bob" McGlone was a catalyst during Lewis County's 23-8 spurt bridging the third and fourth quarters. McGlone had six points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 5:11 left on the clock.

"Bob's our Energizer bunny," Tackett said. "He's been in the starting lineup for us some this year. He's capable of making jump shots, but he hasn't shot it well this year. Nobody has. That's our issue. We were (1 of 12 from 3-point range). Until we start making some jump shots, it makes things hard on Xavier and Drew."

Noble had an old-fashioned three-point play to cut Russell's lead to 49-46 with about three minutes left. Russell had led by as many as 16.

"That's what we expected," Cooksey said of Lewis County's charge back. "We faced some adversity. I thought it led to quick shots and less ball movement down here, but we righted the ship."

Neel was 5 of 6 and Caleb Rimmer 3 of 4 from the foul line over the final 2:19 to help the Devils stave off the visiting Lions.

Quentin Hewlett buried a pair of key freebies earlier in the fourth when he hopped off the bench to replace an injured Gabe Pridemore.

Lewis County did not lead throughout the game.

"The key to us is getting off the bus ready to play," Tackett said.

"I can't tell you how many times this year in that first quarter, we've been down eight, 10, 12 points and then win the rest of the game. ... I don't have an answer for that, especially in a district seed game against a rival. How do you not come out ready to play?"

(606) 326-2664 — asnyder@dailyindependent.com

LEWIS CO. FG FT REB TP

Ferguson 1-7 0-0 2 3

Noble 6-15 7-9 7 19

Prater 5-9 4-5 8 14

Puente 1-2 0-0 0 2

Bivens 0-0 0-0 1 0

McGlone 3-6 0-2 8 6

Tackett 1-3 1-3 1 3

C. Gerike 0-1 0-0 0 0

B. Gerike 1-1 0-0 0 2

Cooper 0-0 0-0 0 0

Team 1

TOTALS 18-44 12-19 28 49

FG Pct.: 40.9. FT Pct.: 63.2. 3-Pt. FG: 1-12 (Ferguson 1-6, Noble 0-2, Puente 0-1, McGlone 0-1, Tackett 0-2). Fouls: 13. Fouled out: McGlone. Turnovers: 15.

RUSSELL FG FT REB TP

Quinn 3-10 0-0 3 7

Neel 7-13 6-7 4 20

Rimmer 2-2 3-4 2 7

Pridemore 1-4 2-2 3 4

Fleming 4-7 1-1 2 11

Hewlett 0-0 2-2 0 2

Cordial 1-5 1-2 8 3

Kaczmarcyk 0-0 0-0 1 0

Burgess 1-2 0-0 0 3

Team 2

TOTALS 19-43 15-18 25 57

FG Pct.: 44.2. FT Pct.: 83.3. 3-Pt. FG: 4-12 (Quinn 1-5, Fleming 2-4, Burgess 1-1, Neel 0-2). Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 9.

LEWIS CO. 8 10 17 14 — 49

RUSSELL 20 12 8 17 — 57

Officials: Fields, Wright, Middleton.

(606) 326-2664

asnyder@dailyindependent.com