By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
Feb. 19, 2014 — Heading into the final week of the regular season, Shawn Thacker wants to see more production out of his team on both ends of the floor.
While facing East Carter on Thursday at Warren H. Cooper Gymnasium, he challenged his team both on offense and defense and it translated to a 62-46 win over the Raiders.
The bad? Rowan scored only 21 points in the first half, making poor decisions shooting the basketball. Rowan was 7-of-18 for 38.9 percent and committed 11 turnovers.
“That half of basketball wasn't the way we've been playing,” Thacker said. “Those weren’t the things that we’ve been doing to feel good about ourselves. Eleven turnovers, we only got 18 shot attempts in the first half, and a third of those were bad.
“We shot 7-for-12 on good shots and they get 29 shots on goal. That makes it kind of tough.”
The good? The Vikings would torch the nets, shooting 70 percent in the second half and outscoring East 41-23.
Thacker said defensively it was the best 32 minutes they had played all year and praised his team’s performance on the glass. They outrebounded East Carter 44-17.
“We tried to speed them up a little bit and it ran them in to some shots,” Thacker said. “Our man-to-man defense is getting a whole lot better and it still gives us the ability to play some zone if we want to. With them, we needed to go guard them to force the tempo a little bit.”
As the first 22 minutes of the game, East Carter (12-12) kept the pace of the game to their liking. It showed with the way Rowan County played in the first half.
“Take those last three or four minutes away in the third quarter and we played pretty well,” East Coach Brandon Baker said. “We did some things that we needed to do to gives ourselves a chance.”
“But at this point of the year you have to put 32 minutes together. This late in the season, once a team gets some separation from you, they’ll dictate how the game is going to be played.”
But after Ryne Callahan got hot (12 Points in the second half, and 17 for the game) the Vikings put together a solid quarter and a half to finish the game.
“We got stops, but then we scored,” Thacker said. “The difference was, we scored, so then we were able to control things a little bit.”
Baker said his team had trouble getting shots to fall, knocking down only eight field goals in the second half in 29 attempts.
“We labored there, from the end of the third quarter on, to get looks at the basket,” Baker said. “We had a stretch there where we couldn't find one, and it kind of got in our heads a little bit.”
Rowan took control late in the third after a Brandon Moore layup to tie the game at 31 apiece. Cole Brammer would give East its final lead of the game on a basket to lead 33-31.
From there, it was a green light the rest of the way. Tyler Thacker, who was honored before the game with a game ball after scoring his 1,000th career point hit a basket and a free throw to start a 9-0 run to end the third quarter. He would also hit a three-point basket in that span.
Brammer led East with 12 points.
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.