For The Independent
OLIVE HILL —
East Carter senior forward Kyle Stewart described Saturday's game against rival West Carter in one word: happy.
East senior guard Quinn Huddle offered, “tough.”
This four-syllable word — perseverance — was maybe the most descriptive. The Raiders broke a four-game losing streak because it survived three West rallies and held on for a 75-67 win at John “Hop” Brown Court.
Stewart was a big reason the Raiders cheerfully left Olive Hill. He scored 22 points.
“We needed this win,” Stewart said. “We've been on a bit of a losing streak, we love to win in this building … We got a little bit of our confidence back.”
East coach Brandon Baker expected a tough game. “We were just fortunate to complete some plays …,” he said.
Besides snapping a four-game losing streak, Huddle thought his team regained a bit of lost love for basketball.
“I think our team lost the enjoyment of playing basketball,” Huddle said.
East's Jordan Burchett said his team had more energy against the Comets. He wasn't worried when West closed to within 58-55 midway through the fourth quarter.
“We have people here who can make plays,” Burchett said. “ I was never was really too worried about it; we're a good team.”
A look at the final statistics should make the Raiders smile: 18 of 29 from the field (62.1 percent); 34 of 53 from the free throw line; just nine turnovers; 18-7 in points off the bench.
West's season has been one long struggle — 1-11 so far — except for senior Kyle Brown and his 23.1 points and 10.3 rebounds a game going into Saturday.
“I've got to give our guys credit,” West Carter coach Jeremy Webb said. “They kept battling, they kept working … We got ourselves back into position to win, and just didn't make enough plays down the stretch in order to pull it out.”
Last night, Brown's offense was sweeter than 27 chocolate candy factories: he scored West's first seven points, 19 for the half and a season-high 36 for the night; was 10-of-20 from the field and 13-of-14 free throws.
Brown was not West's only contributor. There was junior guard Dalton Spurlock, who scored six points in the first quarter, including four in the last 95 seconds and tied the game at 14-all after one quarter.
Still, it was hard at times to determine which of Brown's solo streaks was the more impressive.
After East's 10-3 run early in the second quarter, he converted a three-point play. After Tristan Mitchell's stick-back of his own miss, Brown: hit two free throws; knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the circle; converted Mitchell's steal into a bucket; and after Austin Gee's 3-pointer, he made two more free throws.
The result? West ahead, 31-29 with 1:15 left in the half, and Brown had 19 points.
East Carter (6-9) finished the half on Trenton Welsh's 3-pointer with 37 seconds to go, and the Raiders opened the third quarter with a 6-0 string. The Raiders were just warming up: Welsh, five points; Quinn Huddle, five; Cole Brammer, four; and Donovan Roe, two.
“I think we panicked a little bit,” Brown said. “It seemed like we were stuck on 38 for a really long time; I don't know if we even got a shot up there for about two minutes.”
The Raiders 53-39 lead after three quarters seemed secure.
Brown opened with five points in 53 seconds. West closed to 58-53 when Jacob Nunley followed with two free throws, Jacob Layne and Dustin Black scored two and three, respectively, Brown's field goal on Layne's steal and Brown's two free throws.
West made it a 65-62 game with 1:35 left when Gee hit an eight-footer from the right side after Brown split a double-team on the left.
In fact, East didn't put away the game until its last 10-5 run over the final 1:09. Burchett finished with 13 points, and Huddle added 10.
West out-rebounded the Raiders, 31-20, and made 10 second-chance points to East's four.
“I was obviously disappointed with our defense,” Webb said. “Anytime you allow a team to shoot 62 percent, you're not going to beat them, or shoot 53 free throws, you're not going to beat them.”
EAST CARTER FG FT REB TP
Burchett 3-5 6-9 6 13
Brammer 2-2 4-6 2 9
Huddle 2-5 5-8 3 10
Welsh 2-5 1-6 1 7
Greene 0-0 3-4 0 3
B. Marsh 1-2 5-7 2 7
Roe 1-1 2-2 1 4
Stewart 7-9 8-11 5 22
TOTALS 18-29 35-53 20 75
FG Pct.: 62.1. FT Pct: 64.2. 3-point FG: 5-12 (Burchett 1-3, Brammer 1-1, Huddle 1-3, Welsh 2-3, B. Marsh 0-1, Stewart 0-1). PF: 23. Fouled out: Burchett, Greene. Turnovers: 9.
WEST CARTER FG FT REB TP
Spurlock 1-4 4-4 1 6
B. Brown 0-1 0-0 3 0
Nunley 0-2 2-2 4 2
Black 2-4 1-3 2 6
Layne 2-7 2-2 6 6
Gee 2-5 0-0 3 5
Mitchell 1-2 4-6 3 6
Jordan 0-0 0-0 0 0
Carper 0-0 0-0 0 0
K. Brown 10-20 13-14 9 36
TOTALS 18-45 26-31 31 67
FG Pct.: 40.0. FT Pct: 83.9. 3-point FG: 5-18 (Spurlock 0-2, Black 1-1, Layne 0-4, Gee 1-3, K. Brown 3-8). PF: 36. Fouled out: Spurlock, B. Brown, Layne, Mitchell. Turnovers: 13.
EAST CARTER 14 18 21 22 — 75
WEST CARTER 14 17 8 28 — 67
Officials: Chris Allen, Dave Anderson and Randy Taylor. Technical fouls: none.