OLIVE HILL Trace Tackett waved his hands because he was alone in the right corner.
West Carter’s senior guard was by himself waiting for Braden Leadingham to pass the ball. Leadingham did, Tackett knocked down the 3-pointer, and the Comets continued a 23-4 run on the way to Tuesday’s 64-54 over Elliott County at John “Hop” Brown Court.
The Comets improved to 13-8 and 4-1 in the 62nd District, clinching the top seed in the district tournament.
“All in all, I was proud of our effort,” West Carter coach Jeremy Webb said.
Leadingham’s 22 points led everyone. So did the six assists, including a pass between three Lions to Tackett, who was as alone as a car on U.S. 60 at 4 a.m.
Webb and Tackett were a duet in the locker room because they offered the same description.
“Begging for the basketball,” Tackett said.
West Carter was streaky – in a good way. Starting with the first quarter.
After Elliott County’s Bryson Dickerson’s bucket opened the scoring 21 seconds in, the Lions did not score again until Kole Whitley’s two free throws with 7:37 left in the second quarter.
The score: Comets, 18-2.
Elliott County (6-11, 2-3) didn’t have its second field goal until Eli Griffith hit a 3-pointer with 6:55 before halftime. Whereupon the Lions became hotter than Death Valley in July – a 19-10 run that left them trailing by just 28-23 at intermission.
The Lions shot 36.5% from the field, but they also outrebounded West Carter, 35-27, and got 15 points off the bench to the Comets’ nine.
The Lions were unafraid of driving to the rim in the third quarter.
Not when Dickerson converted two free throws, and not when Hunter Lyons converted Dickerson’s pass from the baseline.
And not when Gavin Whitt scored on a fadeaway jumper over a West Carter defender. By the time Lyons scored with 5:13 to go, Elliott County had its 34-34 tie. “We need to work on just getting a lead and putting it away,” Leadingham said. Leadinghamto- Tackett for 3 put the Comets ahead, 39-34 – part of a 30-20 rampage the rest of the night. Whitley led the Lions with 16 points, and Dickerson added a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. “We came out flat, had a hard time getting the ball in the basket,” Elliott County coach Greg Adkins said. “Late third quarter, it seemed like the same thing happened. We didn’t finish plays around the rim.”
ELLIOTT CO. 2 21 15 16 — 54
W.CARTER 16 12 21 15 — 64
Officials: Dave Anderson, Joe Coldiron and Laine Hughes.