Thanks to B. Gee, Raceland’s stayin’ alive.
Lady Rams senior Brooke Gee delivered a top-of-the-charts performance, posting a triple-double in Raceland’s 50-47 win over Russell on Tuesday night at Greenup County High School.
Raceland (20-9) advanced to Thursday night’s 63rd District Tournament championship game against Lewis County — it tips off at 7 — and punched a ticket to next week’s 16th Region Tournament.
In the nightcap, one Greenup County seventh-grader continued to show why his father should listen to him. A.J. Youngman’s three-point barrage ignited the Musketeers to a 50-30 defeat of Raceland in the boys’ 63rd District opening round game. Greenup County moves on to face Russell in the championship on Friday at 7.
Gee collected 22 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks, but no rebound nor block was more important than the last.
Russell trimmed a 46-39 deficit to 48-47. Then, after Micah Leslie made a runner to give Raceland a 50-47 lead, Russell went to the free-throw line in the final seconds.
Arden Gross grabbed a rebound off a missed free throw, but the 6-foot-2 Gee swatted the ensuing shot attempt, corralled the rebound and then made a clear-out pass downcourt to lock up a Lady Rams victory.
“She’s big and strong and athletic,” said Raceland coach Bob Trimble. “She had a big night for us.”
According to Trimble, the game plan was to pound it inside to Gee and let the rest of the team play off of her. In turn, it became power vs. perimeter.
Russell drained nine 3-pointers to Raceland’s none, and in the third quarter, Lady Devils sophomore Lexi Berry sparked a 17-6 spurt that put Russell ahead 32-31 by the end of the period. Included in that run were four 3-pointers — two by Berry and two by Gabrielle Cassity, a senior.
“If you would’ve told me they were going to hit nine threes, I would’ve said we would’ve gotten beat,” Trimble said. “But we scored 30 points in the paint.”
Russell (17-14) managed just six two-point baskets with Gee roaming the interior. She tallied seven of her 10 blocked shots in the first half.
“She’s a difference maker, not only on the offensive end, but defensively,” said Russell coach Mandy Layne.
The Lady Devils hit back-to-back triples, by Hope Parsley and Cassity, to claw to within one point, at 46-45, with 1:55 to go. However, they did not score another field goal.
Trimble credited that to a rarely used man-to-man defense on the final two possessions.
“They got a little comfortable with our zone, so we changed it up there,” Trimble said. “We played our last two trips man-to-man, and it was our first two trips man-to-man all year.
“I asked, coach (Bob) Bryson, ‘What do you think about going man?’ He said, ‘Hell yes,’” Trimble said with a chuckle.
Taylor Lacks and Jerrah Epling, Raceland’s other two seniors, came up with 12 points and six points, respectively.
Berry finished with a team-high 13 points for Russell, while Cassity chipped in nine and Parsley put up 10 points and 10 boards.
“I thought our kids played really hard and left it all out on the floor,” Layne said. “We just came up a little bit short.”
For the boys, it took an entire quarter to finally crack double figures for the game.
At the end of one, Greenup County (17-13) led Raceland 6-5.
Youngman had already hit one 3-pointer, but the Musketeers needed more from coach Jim Youngman’s son.
The seventh-grader came through, hitting four of his first five trey attempts by the 2:20 mark of the second quarter. He put his team ahead, 18-11, and he ended up with those 12 points.
“That’s a credit to our team,” said Youngman the coach. “This group of older guys have really embraced him 100 percent.”
Prior to the Musketeers’ Feb. 2 matchup with Raceland (a 65-56 win), coach Youngman finally succumbed to his son’s suggestion.
“He said, ‘You know Dad, you put me in late third or early fourth quarter, but you’re expecting miracles. That’s after I already played a full (junior varsity) game and I’m stiff. If you just get me in early in games, I can help,’” said the older Youngman.
By the 3:35 mark of the first quarter, Youngman was in. He immediately nailed a long three.
In the five games the 6-foot-2 Youngman has averaged right at 10 points per game and Greenup County is 5-0.
Dustin Linthicum had nine points and eight rebounds, while Hayden Stephenson had nine and seven. Darius Jackson grabbed six boards and dished five assists.
Raceland (11-20) finished its year with good defense, according to its coach, but went 11-of-44 from the field. J.R. Blair led the Rams with 11 points.
“We held them to under 50 like we wanted to, but we just couldn’t score the basketball,” said Rams coach Scott Floyd.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.
Thanks to B. Gee, Raceland’s stayin’ alive.
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