By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
Feb. 13, 2013 — The East Carter Boys basketball team might be without three starters, but they are not giving up.
The Raiders tried to rally from 21 points in the final period before falling to the two-time defending champion Vikings 60-51 Monday night in Grayson
After falling down 21 points in the fourth quarter to Rowan, a furious rally cut the lead to eight points with 2:00 remaining.
Coach Brandon Baker was proud of his ball club for trying to come back but he admitted his team should not have been in that position in the first place.
“It was our own play why we were down 21,” Baker said. “We did not make shots and we were very poor defensively.”
Jordan Burchett, Cole Brammer and Kyle Stewart were all out with injuries but that did not stop East Carter (10-16) from backing down against the Vikings (15-12).
“Everyone gave great effort,” senior Connor Greene said. “It’s hard to come back from being down 21 and we just tried to attack.”
Greene scored 20 points to lead all scorers, sparking the rally in the fourth by scoring nine points in the final period. Trenton Welsh had 14 points, Bradley Marsh scored six points, Donovan Roe had five points while Quinn Huddle scored three. Seth Marsh scored two points and Donald Damron had a free throw to round out the scoring for East.
“We showed some resolve and got back in game but we’ve got to play a lot smarter and a lot sharper than that at this point of the season,” Baker said.
Rowan County Coach Shawn Thacker substituted his lineup in the fourth quarter after going up by 21. That is when East made their move, using an 11-2 run to close the gap to nine.
“It’s a little bit my fault,” Thacker said. “We put some kids in that we trust and believe in and they turned the heat up on them a little bit and turned them over and we didn’t make shots. Give them credit. Coach Baker’s bunch did not give up.”
Baker said losing those three starters makes it feel like trying to fix November and December mistakes and with the district tournament looming next week, the Raiders feel like they are circling the wagon instead of circling the drain.
“Everyone has stepped up,” Greene said. “Losing those guys makes it different but we are playing good ball and confident. We trust one another.”
East Carter is on the road the last two games of the season. The Raiders traveled to Bath County Tuesday night before finishing the regular season Thursday night at Boyd County.
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.