For The Independent
Bill Mike Runyon didn’t mince words Friday night.
Paintsville’s legendary coach was upset as his team, in his words, were “out played, out hustled and out worked” in a 76-70 loss at Lawrence County.
“You can’t give this kind of effort and expect to win games,” said Runyon. We were lucky, very lucky, to be this close. Defensively, we absolutely stunk, and they (Lawrence County) played with much more intensity and desire.”
The youthful Bulldogs (14-10) are perhaps one of the hottest teams in the region, but they will have their work cut out for them in the 57th District Tournament. With a 2-5 district mark – with one more district game left at Sheldon Clark – Lawrence County will likely fall in the dreaded fourth spot, meaning the team must win two games to earn a spot in the regional tournament.
“For us to be competitive, we have to play at a high level of intensity, and I believe we did that tonight,” said first-year Lawrence County coach Josh Cook. The Bulldogs played extremely well in the 15th Region All A Tournament, and was a shot away from winning the championship. “I think we are back to being hungry and humble. We had some success, but we also had a lot of setbacks and disappointments. We are realizing that we have to come on the floor and put it all out there night in and night out.”
All five Lawrence County starters scored in double figures as brothers Robert Dalton (freshman) and Timmy Dalton (eighth-grader) led the way with 18 points apiece. Freshman Austin Chaffins followed with 16, freshman Brandon Richardson had 11, and freshman Grant Kiser finished with 10.
“I told our kids before the game that they keys to the game were defense, rebounding and intensity,” Cook added. “I thought our kids were aggressive in going to the basket, and showed composure as [Paintsville] made a few runs late.”
The Tigers (11-8) got to within two at 42-40 with 4 minutes, 26 seconds left in the third quarter, but Lawrence County answered in a hurry with eight unanswered points, including three-pointers by Chaffin and Richardson to push its lead to 50-40.
Senior Trevor Tiller had 13 points to lead four Paintsville players in double figures. Quinton Hensley followed with 12, while Matt Daniels and Matt Miller finished with 11 each.
The Tigers are 3-3 in district play with games next week with Magoffin County and Johnson Central. Wins there could propel the Tigers to the second or third seed in the post-season.
“Those games are must-wins, plain and simple,” said Runyon.
PAINTSVILLE 16 17 17 25 – 70
LAWRENCE CO. 19 21 18 18 – 76
Paintsville (70) – Trevor Tiller 5(1) 0-0 13; Matt Daniels 1(3) 0-0 11; Matt Miller 3(1) 2-4 11; Kash Daniel 4 0-0 8; Luke Trimble 1 2-5 4; Payton Smith 0(1) 2-2 5; Quinton Hensley 3(2) 0-0 12; Luke Daniels 1 2-2 4; Zac Collins 1 0-0 2. Totals: 19(8) 8-13 70.
Lawrence County (76) – Austin Chaffins 3(2) 4-5 16; Robert Dalton 7 4-7 18; Brandon Richardson 2(1) 4-4 11; Grant Kiser 5 0-0 10; A.J. Cyrus 1 0-0 2; Joe Wallen 0 1-2 1; Timmy Dalton 7 4-5 18. Totals: 25(3) 17-23 76.