EDMONTON — It was another District 16 nail-biter that didn’t go Metcalfe County’s way.
Like they did in previous losses to Cumberland County and Clinton County, the Hornets gave themselves a chance to beat visiting Russell County on Monday, but fell just short.
Metcalfe County(2-3, 0-3) lost 57-54 to Russell County(3-2, 1-0) after leading by four at the half. The Lakers played well down the stretch and dominated the boards to escape Edmonton with the narrow win.
“We outplayed them in the first half and I thought they took it to us a bit in the second half,” Metcalfe County coach Brandon Brockman said. “Give credit to Russell County they killed us on the boards.”
Boston Devore scored 14 first half points for Metcalfe County and Wyatt Blythe and Jax Allen each hit a pair of treys to spur the Hornets to a 31-27 advantage at the break.
The Russell County defense tightened in the second half around Devore, keeping the junior from scoring again until early in the fourth quarter.
By then, the Lakers had erased their halftime deficit and had taken a four point lead over the Hornets.
The lead would grow to six but Metcalfe County stayed within striking distance and had a chance to tie it with 1:30 to play on a trey that just rimmed out of the basket.
The Lakers weren’t able to seal the game at the line and Braxton Davis drilled a 3-pointer to cut the lead to one point with 1.9 to play.
But Russell County’s Jay Milburn knocked down a pair of free throws and Metcalfe County didn’t have time to get a quality shot off before the buzzer sounded.
It was another close district loss, but another opportunity to learn and grow, Brockman said.
“We’ll be fine. We’ll keep working and we’ll keep improving,” he said.
There won’t be much time for the Hornets to think about Monday’s loss. Metcalfe County plays five games in six days this week including a Tuesday home meeting with Hart County.
Though it will be a challenge, Brockman said the stretch of games should help prepare the Hornets for district and regional tournament play.
“This is a good opportunity for us to grow as a team,” he said.
So far this season, Brockman said he’s seen some positives but also pointed out some areas where he believes the Hornets must improve.
“I like the way we share the ball and shoot the ball but we need to improve on offense and rebounding,” he said.