Harmon’s 45-point performance lifts Adair past Russell County, 95-80
RUSSELL SPRINGS–Coach Jeffrey Breeze and Adair County had to deal with the problem of having two starters—Dre Boyd and Anthony Payne—out of the lineup in the game at rival Russell County on Friday night.
But even without these two valuable contributors, the Indians still managed to go into hostile territory and get the job done.
Freshman sensation Zion Harmon poured in 45 points to lead the team, and Adair County held off several rallies by Russell County to record the 95-80 victory in front of a Laker Gym that was nearly at capacity.
“Rivalry game, this place was loud from the start,” Breeze said. “It’s good to come in and get a win, especially when two kids that start for us don’t play and we score 95 points.”
Things were appearing stagnant for the Indians early on, especially when Harmon missed his first four shots from the field to start the game.
“He leads the state in scoring for a reason,” Breeze said. “He just has to keep shooting. If he doesn’t score very many then we’re not going to win. That’s just the bottom line in a up-tempo high-scoring game like that.”
Harmon quickly got of his slump, scoring 12 out of the Indians’ next 14 points to propel Adair County to a 18-8 lead at the 2:38 mark of the first quarter. Harmon finished the frame with 15 as the Indians held a 24-13 advantage after the first eight minutes.
“I just kept my confidence and just knowing who I am,” Harmon said. “The game has time, and there’s always time to keep on playing. You can’t get down on one play; you have to have a short-term memory.”
The Indians (16-9) extended their lead out to 41-23 after a three-point play by Harmon and a technical on Russell County coach William Carson, III had Corey Melton go to the line and sink two free throws with 2:59 left in the first half.
The Lakers (9-18) would not go down that easily.
Russell County ended the first half on a 12-5 run to narrow the deficit to 11 at the break, and the Lakers cut it to seven at the 7:06 mark of the third quarter after back-to-back baskets by Briley Hadley to start the second half.
But the Indians once again answered with a run—a 9-0 scoring spurt that was partially due to another technical being assessed against the Lakers.
Adair County ended the third quarter with a 71-55 lead, and the Indians scored the first four points of the fourth to push their lead to the biggest of the night at 20 points.
Russell County then surmounted one last comeback—scoring eight unanswered points in just over a minute to whittle the deficit down to 12. The teams traded baskets before Tate Richardson drilled a 3-pointer to make it 79-68 with 5:03 left, but Harmon promptly answered the bell with a 3-pointer that pushed the Indian advantage back to 14 and put a damper on the Lakers’ ability to storm back a fourth time.
Overall Breeze was pleased with the way his team performed in the victory.
“I thought we did pretty well tonight,” Breeze said.” Our tempo was a whole lot better. We moved Zion off the ball and let [Blane] Frazier play the point and we worked on getting him the ball in scoring areas and helping everybody else getting scoring areas as well.”
The Indians were able to answer every Laker rally by pushing the tempo in their favor via Harmon.
“Our coach always said ‘Just get the ball out,” Harmon said. “I tell all my coaches that I like to play fast and get the ball out . So when the ball goes through the net, we’re pushing it right back at you.”
Russell County put forth a valiant effort but dropped its fourth straight game to fall to 9-18 on the season. The Lakers will look to bounce back at Williamsburg on Saturday night.
Meanwhile Adair County will look to extend its winning streak to three games on Saturday night at Seneca. After Sencea the Indians will travel to face top-ranked Scott County in Georgetown on Monday night—a game that will serve as a good measuring stick for Breeze’s Indians.
“If we’re fortunate enough to get out of the region we kind of looked ahead to the state tournament bracket to see who we might play,”Breeze said. “Second round we play Mercer County’s region or Bowling Green/Warren Central if we made it, and we’ve played those teams. We looked next place and we saw Scott County out there so we said let’s go play them regular season. They may beat us by 30 or 40, but they’re number one in the state and they haven’t lost in the state so we’ll see where we’re at.”