March 6, 2012 —
It may have been the first of a semifinals doubleheader, but Saturday’s matchup pitting Rowan County against West Carter lived up to the hype it so promised.
Thanks to a fast start in which the Vikings jumped out to an early 16-2 advantage, Rowan gritted out another win, 47-38, to advance to the 16th Region finals.
With the score 3-0 in favor of Rowan County, senior forward Jason Egan went on a tear as he scored 10 straight points for the Vikes, including two from long range to give his team a 13-0 lead with 3:08 left in the first.
“We came out ready to play today, and we were able to knock down some big shots early. The goal was to take them out early,” said Egan after his team’s win.
Egan then finished the quarter with a layup and basket that turned into a three-point play following the free throw.
Scoring 13 of his team’s 16 points, it was the Jason Egan show as Rowan ended the first with a commanding 16-2 lead.
Determined not to go down without a fight, the Comets would respond in the second.
West Carter standout Kyle Brown knocked down a jumper to start the quarter, but this would be the only points for both teams in the first three minutes of the period.
The scoring touch changed hands in the last five minutes before the half, as the Comets closed the Viking lead to 20-14, holding Rowan’s offense to only four points in the period.
Leading 20-14 at the half, senior forward Adam Wing had been quiet for the majority of the game.
Following the break, offensive opportunities came at a premium for both squads.
The free throw line served as the source of points, as the Vikings connected on five of six free throws to account for 10 of its points.
Wing was waiting for his moment, as he quietly began to pick up steam on offense, connecting on a big three to cap the scoring for Rowan in the third.
Trailing 31-30 after three quarters, Wing said he knew he needed to play big in the final stretch of the game.
“I looked up and we were down by one,” Wing said. “I knew that I had to start taking the game over and my teammates realized that I had started to get the hot hand. From that point on, they just kept feeding me the ball.”
Feed Wing the ball is exactly what the Vikings did.
A jumper by Wing at the 5:53 mark gave the Vikings a 32-31 lead, and also set the stage for Rowan to advance, as it did not allow West Carter to reclaim the lead.
Wing went on to score 8 of his team’s 17 points in the final period, as fellow seniors D.J. Townsend and Jason Egan also helped to seal the game with big baskets to put an end to the Comets’ hopes of an upset.
“The reason we were able to pull away in the fourth was because of our hard-nosed defense,” Wing said. “We were able to limit them to one shot, and that turned out to be the key to the win.”
Egan led the Vikings with 17, while Townsend quietly killed the Comets with 16, and Wing’s hot hand in the fourth gave him 12.
After the victory, the Vikings were just one win away from making the drive to Lexington for the KHSAA Sweet 16 at Rupp Arena, as they took on Ashland Blazer last night after press time.
The Morehead News will have more on Rowan’s Regional finals matchup with the Tomcats in Friday’s edition.
Grant Stevens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 784-4116.