By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
Dec. 4, 2013 — The preseason scrimmages in Carter County shifted to Grayson this past Saturday at the 15th annual Heart of the Parks Thanksgiving Tipoff Classic.
Ten teams from two states came to East Carter High school for a final tune-up before the start of the regular season. There were four, eight-minute quarters and the score would reset after each period.
The host Raiders took on Huntington High School. The Highlanders used their athleticism to defeat the Raiders 77-49. Cole Brammer led the Raiders with 14 points.
Coach Brandon Baker saw plenty of things for East Carter to work on as they start the 2013-14 season.
“Even though we played a much better team, I feel like we got better,” Baker said. “We made some adjustments and got underneath our surface and learned some things about ourselves. We are really committed to competing. Deep down, we figured out about ourselves and we’ll learn from it and get better.”
The Lady Raiders welcomed Huntington St. Joe prep, the five-time West Virginia Class A State Champions. East Carter would race out to an 18-4 lead in the first quarter and ultimately defeated the Irish 62-41. Kristin Mayo scored 17 points in the scrimmage. Megan Stickler added 11 markers.
St. Joes would get a 7-0 run to start the second quarter and put East back on their heels a bit. They responded by outscoring St. Joe’s 14-5 the rest of the way.
“That was the most impressive part of the game,” East coach Hager Easterling said. “I called timeout at that point and asked how our we going to respond to their run? We turned our energy and confidence back up after a strong first quarter to come back and outplay them the rest of the quarter. I’m hard to impress but that did it.”
West Carter would then take the stage as the Lady Comets battled Bath County in 16th Region action. The Lady Cats would take advantage of their size as they defeated the Lady Comets 65-47.
Bath County’s defense would hold West Carter without a field goal for the first 12:30 of the game. Morgan Berry led West with nine points.
There were a combined 84 free throws shot and more than 60 fouls called in the scrimmage. Coach Bart Stevens said his team must take advantage of opportunities.
“When you shoot 22-51 from the free throw line, you’re not going to win many games,” Stevens said. “We were in the game through the first three quarters. It was pretty even. I don’t know how we miss that many. We just need to get better with that. We had trouble scoring which was our problem last year. But as the season progresses, we’ll get better at that.”
In the finale, West Carter took on Spring Valley, W.Va. The Comets would race out to a 29-23 halftime lead but the Wolverines would outscore West 44-29, including 25-10 in the third quarter to win 67-53. Hayden Roe scored 17 points while Ben Jordan had 11 points.
Coach Jeremy Webb said they were able to hit the offensive glass and earn 24 second chance points.
“When you give up 24 offensive rebounds and the same amount of second-chance points in the game, you’re not going to win a lot of games,” Webb said. “I felt like we improved from the Jack Fultz to now. The wins will come throughout the course of the season. I just want our guys to do what we ask them to and if we can get that effort out of them, we’ll be fine.”
Carter County schools began their season Tuesday night. East’s boys hosted Lawrence County while the Lady Raiders headed to Elliott County. West Carter’s boys lost to Rowan County Monday night and hosted Sheldon Clark Tuesday. The Lady Comets traveled to Raceland.
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.