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By BRIAN LANGLEY
Morgan County News
SUNBRIGHT — It was a regular season sweep for the Coalfield Lady Jackets and the Sunbright Tigers when the two Morgan County rivals battled it out on the hardwood Friday night.
Coalfield used a 28 of 35 performance at the free throw line to capture a 67-53 win at Sunbright in girls District 4-A action, while Scott Stephens’ Tigers kept the Jackets winless on the season with a 62-45 triumph in the boys game.
For the second time in barely two weeks Sunbright survived a three-point barrage by the Coalfield Jackets as they came out with a 62-45 win to claim at least a share of second place.
“There was a lot of pressure on us here tonight. These kids have not been here before and are not used to playing for a high seed. Coalfield is not that bad of a team. They shoot the ball well and have nothing to lose. They go all out and make things tough,” explained Sunbright head coach Scott Stephens.
“It has been a long time since Sunbright has had a team this high up in the district closing out the year. We just need to finish up strong and we need to fine tune some things before the tournament starts.”
The loss kept Coalfield winless on the season at 0-18. The Jackets were playing without leading scorer Taylor Newberry.
“They all stepped it up. They knew that Taylor (Newberry) wasn’t going to be in the line-up and they knew they had to step up,” explained Coalfield head coach Ted McKinney.
It was senior night for Sunbright’s Shayne Kreis, Allen Hughett, D.J. Fullbright, Drew Kennedy and Anthony Gunter. Sunbright’s Shayne Kreis scored the game’s first 4 points, but the Jackets answered with a 12-2 surge (Brock Keener tallied 8 points, including two treys) to gain a 12-6 lead with just under two minutes left in the opening quarter. Sunbright’s Matthew Higgins drilled a couple of three-pointers late in the quarter to pull within 14-12.
“My point guard (Higgins) got a little hot in the first half and kept us in,” said Stephens.
Coalfield’s Adam Doughty caught fire from three-point range during the opening three minutes of the second quarter and he buried a trio of treys and Keener added a trifecta to help push the lead to 26-14 with 4:19 left until half-time. Higgins wasn’t done from long-distance and added a couple more treys later in the quarter to help spark the Tigers on a 16-4 run to pull within 32-30 at the break.
“They (Coalfield) hit the shots they had to make in the first half. We didn’t play very good defense. We were real passive and we were not getting hands up and not closing out on the shooters very well,” said Stephens.
Sunbright took control of the game during the third quarter as they tied the game early on with pair of freebies by Drew Kennedy. Allen Hughett scored on a putback to give Sunbright the lead for good as the Tigers went on to build up a 42-32 advantage before Coalfield’s Keener scored a three point play to stop a seven-minute scoring drought. Sunbright took a 46-38 lead into the final period.
During a low-scoring fourth quarter, the Jackets were able to get as close as seven (48-41) midway through the period. Coalfield’s Trevor Bogard hit a three-pointer late for his team’s only field goal in the final period, but the Tigers closed the game with a 10-1 surge, including a buzzer-beating trey by Anthony Gunter, to push out the final margin to 62-45.
Sunbright controlled the backboards by a 33-20 margin and used 15 steals to notch another win at home.
Sunbright (13-9, 6-3 in District 4-A) was led by the potent 1-2-3 combo of Shayne Kreis (20 points, 18 rebounds, 3 steals), Matthew Higgins (12 points, 4 steals) and Randy Sexton (10 points, 4 rebounds). Drew Kennedy (8 points, 5 rebounds) and Allen Hughett (6 points, 6 assists, 3 steals) each had a huge role in the win for the Tigers.
Coalfield (0-18, 0-9 in District 4-A) was led by Brock Keener’s career high 20 points and 8 rebounds. Adam Doughty (9 points, 3 boards) and Jacob Powers (7 points, 3 assists) both added some offensive firepower for the Jackets.
Coalfield was set to host Scott County and Midway early this week before they close out their regular season at Oakdale Friday and at Rockwood on Monday.
“If we could somehow manage to roll into the tournament with a couple of wins that would be huge,” said McKinney.ee
TIGERS (62): Shayne Kreis 20, Matthew Higgins 12, Randy Sexton 10, Drew Kennedy 8, Allen Hughett 6 and Anthony Gunter 3. Three-pointers: Higgins 4 and Gunter 1.
JACKETS (45): Brock Keener 20, Adam Doughty 9, Jacob Powers 7, Dalton Roberts 4, Trevor Bogard 3 and Austin Hicks 2. Three-pointers: Keener 3, Doughty 3, Roberts 1 and Bogard 1.
Coalfield sophomore Olivia Scarbrough pumped in a season-high 22 points to lead the Lady Jackets to their 5th road win of the season in a 67-53 victory over Sunbright.
She (Scarbrough) had a great game. She had a lot of good moves and it was one of her better games. It was good to see her play like that,” Lady Jackets head coach Carmen Hines.
Coalfield raced out to a 6-2 lead, but the Lady Tigers pulled within 12-10 by the end of the opening quarter. Scarbrough scored six points in the opening quarter to pace Coalfield, while Sunbright’s Tessa Kilby tallied five to pace Sunbright.
The Lady Jackets built a 2014 advantage less than two minutes into the second quarter as Alaina Jordan scored a pair of baskets inside.ee Sunbright responded with an 8-3 run to pull within 23-22 halfway through the quarter, but Coalfield closed the half with an 11-1 rush (Meredith Newberry knocked down four freebies) to give them a 34-24 lead at the break.
Sunbright’s Tessa Kilby drilled a three-pointer to start the third quarter scoring, but the Lady Tigers wouldn’t score another field goal for more than six minutes. Meanwhile, Coalfield went on a 17-1 rampage (Scarbrough and Danielle Elsea combined for 13 points) to build a 51-28 advantage late in the quarter. Sunbright’s Jessika Dyer scored a basket withee less than two minutes left to slice the lead to 51-30.
Sunbright used a couple of baskets by Sunny Lavender to help pull them within 53-36 early in the fourth, but Scarbrough scored five points to help keep the lead at 20 with just over five minutes left. The Lady Tigers then chipped away at the lead and used a 12-1 run (Lavender and Dyer combined for eight points) to slice the lead to 59-50 with 2:53 left in the game. Coalfield put the game away at the charity stripe during the final two minutes as they cashed in on 8 of 10 tosses.
“Sunbright played us pretty tough. They got a lot of offensive rebounds and they got after the loose balls and really hustled. Our girls hung in there and got a lead, but Sunbright did come back and were eager to beat us. It was a good effort on both parts,” said Hines.
LADY JACKETS (67): Olivia Scarbrough 22, Danielle Elsea 15, Meredith Newberry 10, Alaina Jordan 8, Chelsey Landrum 7 and Tallesse Jones 5. Three-pointers (1) — Landrum 1.
LADY TIGERS (53): Jessika Dyer 18, Tessa Kilby 17, Sunny Lavender 12, Ashley Foster 2, Hannah Sexton 2, Monica Barnett 1 and Jesse Ford 1. Three-pointers (2) — Kilby 2.