By Dan Manley
Advocate Sports Editor
The Montgomery County Indians fouled their way to a 66-61 loss Monday night at the MCHS Arena as the Rowan County Vikings escaped with a win in the season opener for the two teams.
“We showed a lack of discipline and maturity,” said Coach Matt Daniel after his team was hit with three technical fouls in the contest. “We’ve got veteran players who have to play through adversity and not let it effect us the way it did.”
The first, and perhaps major call, came in the opening quarter when senior guard Duce Ralls was called for a foul and then he and a Rowan County player were hit with a double technical.
That gave Ralls his second and third fouls with more than two minutes still to play in the opening quarter.
Ralls opened the game by scoring the Indians’ first nine points and he would finish with a game-high 23 even though he played less than 20 minutes of the contest because of foul trouble.
“Losing Duce that early certainly impacted the game,” Daniel explained. “But Austin (Eichenberger) did a nice job of handling the ball and keeping us in the game. It just would have been nice to have both of them in there a lot more.”
After Ralls had his early scoring run that pushed the Tribe out to a 9-2 lead, Rowan County came back behind sophomore forward Mason Moore and took the lead at 10-9.
The lead would go back and forth 10 times during the remainder of the first half with the Indians, even with Ralls out of the game for the final 10 minutes of the half, going to the locker room with a 29-28 lead.
Third quarter explosion
The Vikings came out of the halftime break and took control of the game.
With the score 34-32 Rowan County went on an 8-0 run to take a double-figure lead for the first time in the game.
Ralls hit back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead back to four before Moore scored five quick points to push the lead back to nine at 47-38.
The Vikings had another 10-point lead at 50-40 and then held a 52-45 advantage at the end of three periods.
Rowan County led just 56-55 when the Indians’ third technical foul of the game led to six straight Viking points to make it 62-55 with just 1:31 left.
Still the Tribe had a chance to tie the score with :31 to play but hit only one of a pair of free throws and the Vikings scored the game’s final four points on free throws.
Pharoah Davis led the Indians to a 37-31 advantage on the backboards with 10.
The Indians will travel to northern Kentucky Friday night to take on 10th Region foe Scott High and then on Tuesday of next week they’ll be back at the MCHS Arena when the Paris Greyhounds come to town for the first district contest of the year.
That game will be part of a girl-boy doubleheader.
Rowan County (66) — Brady Madden 5-9 2-2 12, Will Cox 5-10 3-3 15, Mason Moore 8-11 6-6 23, Chase Alderman 1-3 0-0 2, Devin Davidson 3-6 3-7 11, Zeke Ferguson 0-1 0-0 0, 1-4 0-1 3. Totals 23-44 14-19 66.
MCHS (61) — Will Cockrell 2-7 1-2 5, Duce Ralls 7-12 5-6 23, Pharoah Davis 3-8 2-2 8, Austin Eichenberger 6-13 3-8 15, Rylan Owens 0-0 0-0 0, Jon Kosier 0-2 1-4 1, Brandon Dyer 2-3 0-0 6, Luke Fuller 1-7 0-0 3, Clay Leggitt 0-0 0-0 0, Trevor Igo 0-0 0-0 0, Caleb Webb 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-53 12-22 61.
Rowan 16 12 24 14—66
MCHS 18 11 16 16—61
Three-point field goals — Rowan 6-14 (Cox 2-4, Moore 1-3, Davidson 2-2, Tabor 1-3); MCHS 7-20 (Ralls 4-8, Dyer 2-2, Fuller 1-7). Rebounds — Rowan 31 (Moore 11, Madden 5); MCHS 37 (Davis 10, Cockrell 6). Turnovers — Rowan 17, MCHS 11. Total fouls — Rowan 22, MCHS 19. Fouled out — Ralls (MC), Cox (RC), Ferguson (RC). Technical fouls — Ralls, (MC), Davis (MC), Eichenberger (MC), Davidson (RC).