By SCOTT WILSON
Glasgow Daily Times
Steve Kirkpatrick, the head boys’ basketball coach at Monroe County High School, called the Falcons’ 75-58 victory over Russellville Saturday in the first round of the Fourth Region Boys Basketball Tournament a total team effort. The Falcons put four players in double figures as they blew the game open in the second half to claim the 17-point victory.
“We’ve wanted contributions from everyone all year. We want kids to step up and we tell them if they’re open to shoot the ball,” Kirkpatrick said. “And when they start making shots, that takes the pressure off of (junior standout) Dillon (Geralds). We tell them to take the shot when they’re open.”
The victory puts Monroe County (21-10) in Monday’s semifinals against Warren Central at Barren County High School. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. The Dragons advanced by beating Clinton County in Saturday’s first semifinal.
“I told the kids we had a good chance to win this game,” Kirkpatrick explained. “Russellville’s record is not what they wanted it to be, but with their quickness, I knew they could give us some problems. However, I challenged the kids to step up and win this game.”
Russellville (11-19) opened the second half pushing the ball up the court offensively. However, the Falcons went to a trap on defense and the move seemed to confuse Russellville, causing the Panthers to turn the ball over on consecutive trips down the floor.
Monroe County got the quarter started with an 8-0 run on baskets by Gibril Summers, Skyler Geralds and two layups inside by Devin Gearlds to take a 43-31 advantage with 5:01 to go in the third period.
Russellville never got closer the rest of the night as Monroe County kept the pressure on.
A jumper by Lincoln Arnett, a layup by Skyler Geralds and a 3-pointer from John Austin Geralds pushed the Falcons’ lead to 54-38 and the rout was on.
“Russellville likes to push the ball up the floor and we like to play that way too. But I told the guys that if we don’t have anything out of our transition offense to not force it, and pull it back out,” Kirkpatrick said. “Russellville is probably quicker than us, but if we run the floor and make good decisions, that style of play is good for us.”
Skyler Geralds led Monroe County with 19 points on the night. He also had five assists and one steal. Devin Gearlds and Dillon Geralds scored 12 points each, while John Austin Geralds scored 11 points off the bench.
Garrett Crowed scored eight points for the Falcons. Summers tallied seven points and Arnett chipped in with six.
Lee McMurray highlighted the Russellville charge with 16 points. Barrett Croslin added 14 and four rebounds.
“I thought we played very well defensively. We went to the 2-2-1, three-quarter trap and I think that threw Russellville off a little bit,” Kirkpatrick relayed. “We got four or five turnovers right in a row there in the third quarter and that allowed us to push the lead on out. We found their shooters pretty well on defense, but they did a good job beating us in the middle. Overall, I was very pleased with how we played.”