TOMPKINSVILLE — Down by as many as six points in the fourth quarter, the Falcons (6-8) stormed back into their game against Russellville (4-9) Monday night and took the contest on a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Grayson Rich.
Despite being harassed by the stifling full-court press of the Panthers all night long, Monroe County was able regroup and finish the contest on a 8-0 run to snatch the victory.
“The games we have won — every one of them has been this way,” Coach Ashley Geralds said after the game. “We have depended on our defense and hopefully we score enough to take the game. We could’ve quit in the fourth quarter. The biggest thing is that we kept getting baskets on the other end. It was just a great team effort.”
The Falcons actually led at halftime 23-18, however, that lead did not come easy. Russellville’s defensive pressure all over the court forced several turnovers from Monroe County to keep the game close.
“We didn’t handle the press very well early,” Geralds said. “We were very surprised that they didn’t start in it earlier. We finally settled down in the second half and figured it out. It wasn’t a press we have seen.”
Finally, the Panthers broke through in the third quarter and outscored the Falcons 20-11 in the period.
Thanks to a 17-point performance from Kale Hagan and a 14-point game from Grayson Rich, Geralds' team was able to consistently stay within striking distance right down to the end.
With 26 seconds left in the game, Rich was able to get the basket despite the play breaking completely down.
“It was a surprise because we drew up a play for man (defense) and they came out in zone,” Rich said. “I saw Kale posting up and I tried to get it to him, but they fronted him. I just knew I had to get the shot off.”
Also instrumental in the Monroe County effort was senior Curtis Petett who was able to secure a couple of huge rebounds in the last two minutes of the game.
“I was extremely proud of that whole group,” Geralds said of his seniors which included Hagan and Rich. “I’m actually proud of my whole team tonight.”
The win advances the Falcons to the semifinals of the Class “A” region tournament where they will play against Cumberland County in the semifinals on Thursday at 7:30 in Burkesville.
Lady Panthers down Monroe County in double overtime
The Lady Falcons (5-10) lost a heartbreaker in the opening round of the Class “A” Region Tournament as Coach Clifton Hamilton’s team fell to Russellville 40-37 in double overtime.
Despite leading for most of the defensive struggle, Monroe County could not hit their free throws down the stretch in regulation. They managed to shoot only 50 percent from the line in the contest.
The second overtime was the nail in the coffin for coach Hamilton’s team as they failed to score a single point in the extra period. The first half proved to be an offensive disaster for both teams with the Lady Falcons leading 13-10 at the break.
It was Russellville’s Amiyah Collier who led the Lady Panthers out of their offensive struggle in the second half. She managed to score a team-high 19 points which included the final points to seal the game for Russellville.
For the Lady Falcons, it was Monroe County’s Paisley Ford who provided most of the scoring output. She would finish the game with 19 points — over half of her team’s points.
Ramsey Bartley added six points in the effort for the Lady Falcons. Gracie Veach scored four points of her own for Monroe County as Malila Myatt and Halee Deckard both notched three points.
Crucial in the effort for Hamilton’s team was senior Cally Harlin who managed to rebound at will against Russellville’s Anastasia Dowlen. Dowlen not only leads the region in rebounding, but she leads the entire state in the category.
Harlin was named to the Class “A” All Region team for her efforts, and senior Alayna Hodges was named to the Class “A” All Region Academic Team.
Next up for the Lady Falcons will be a district matchup against Barren County at home on Jan. 20 at 6 p.m.
The Glasgow Scotties fell in to Clinton County 48-36 on Monday night, and the Glasgow Lay Scotties were victorious over the Lady Bulldogs by a score of 62-29. The girls will play next on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. against Metcalfe County.