Devils slam on brakes

Russell Boys vs West

Devils slam on brakes

Russell defense limits West Carter in turnaround win


Reprinted with permission from the editor of THE DAILY INDEPENDENT

RUSSELL When the teams met in early December, West Carter and Russell took turns piling up points in the opening round of the Eastern Kentucky Conference tournament.  West Carter won an 85-81 shootout in overtime.  Tuesday’s rematch looked nothing like that. Both defenses challenged every drive through the lane in a physical contest.  Russell struggled to get a basket early but went on to feed off its own stops for a 61-47 victory in Marvin Meredith Gym.  Junior guard Charlie Jachimczuk called it one of the Red Devils’ top defensive performances.  “Our coach (Tom Barrick) has been stressing defense all year,” said Jachimczuk, who accounted for three of Russell’s eight steals. “It’s what we focus on the most. Tonight I think it was really good. Everybody did their part.”  

West Carter — without guard catalyst Tyson Webb for the first time this season due to a concussion — had a hard time getting open looks on the perimeter and met strong resistance around the basket. It resulted in 36 percent shooting and one of the Comets’ lowest scoring outputs of the season.  “They are a team that likes to drive a lot,” Jachimczuk said. “Tyson Webb was out. (Braden) Leadingham is a pure driver. We tried to focus on closing off the lanes.”  West Carter coach Jeremy Webb chalked it up as a tough night all around.  “It’s been what, eight days since we last had a game,” he said. “We couldn’t practice for a while due to illness. We were down Tyson and just have some things to play through. It’s just a part of what happens in the regular season.”  Webb followed up by passing out kudos to the Red Devils.  “You’ve got to give Russell credit for the defense they played,” Webb said. “They’re long and pretty athletic. Their length and overall defense gave us some difficulties.”

West Carter (13-9) led 7-2 while Russell started 1-for-11 from the field. Then Tristan Miller’s 3-pointer triggered a 15-3 run in which the Red Devils scored three times off steals or Comets ballhandling miscues.  Russell closed the half with a similar flurry to take a 26-17 halftime lead. Miller opened the third quarter by coming off a screen to nail a 3pointer. Teammate Brady Bell connected from long range following a West Carter turnover as the margin jumped to 15.  The Red Devils maintained at least a nine-point advantage the rest of the way. They made 23 of 28 second-half free throws, including 13 in a row during a stretch of the fourth quarter.  In all, Russell scored 26 points off West Carter’s 16 turnovers.  “A lot of our offense goes through Tyson and Braden,” said the Comets coach. “We’re having to learn without him. We’re trying to replace 15 points and probably our best defender.”  Leadingham finished with 16 points and Trevor Callahan added 11 for West Carter.  Russell’s Miller scored a game-high 22 — hitting 6 of 8 shots from the floor and all eight of his free throw attempts. Jachimczuk joined him in double figures with 10 points.  Though the Red Devils’ 9-13 record isn’t what their players and coaches wanted to this point, Jachimczuk likes the team’s chances for making a postseason run.  “I think we could go a pretty good way in the tournament,” he said. “This (63rd) district is wide open with all four teams.”

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