BY BRAD LAUX
THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
Russell freshman Charlie Jachimczuk jacks up a 3 from the corner during the second half.
BRAD LAUX | 1016 SPORTS
MOREHEAD It is rare when a coach is happy about his team’s defense in the quarter in which it gave up the most points, but that was the case for Russell’s Bryan Groves. His team rallied from threepoint deficit entering the final period to claim a 72-64 victory at Rowan County.
“I told them in the timeouts, ‘Defense is going to win it’ and it’s what won it,” he said. “We didn’t play as well as we wanted to in the first half, and we ended up fighting there at the end.”
After an evenly played first quarter, Rowan County (11-9) was able to surge to a 31-26 halftime lead after Tyler Gardner led the hosts with seven points in the final three and a half minutes.
But the second half was a different story.
Russell (8-11) started the third period on a 7-2 run, before 3-pointers by Gardner and Ryan Mullen pushed the Vikings in front 44-41.
The Red Devils answered by scoring the first seven points of the fourth quarter and eventually pulled to a 51-46 lead. Rowan County battled back to draw within two twice midway through the period.
Hale scored 20 of his team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter. In that period, he sank 12of-13 free throws.
Russell’s win was its six in its last eight games, while Rowan County suffered its lone defeat in a stretch of three games in four days.