45ROWAN COUNTY32DAVIESS COUNTY

Sweet Sixteen: Rowan County routs cold-shooting Daviess County, 45-32

'D' helps Vikings to first state win

mfields@herald-leader.comMarch 18, 2011 

A Disney on Ice show is coming to town next week, and a thick layer of the frozen stuff is already in place under the basketball court in Rupp Arena.

Maybe that's why Daviess County suffered through a b-r-r-r-r-rutally cold shooting performance in losing to Rowan County 45-32 in the first round of the 94th PNC/KHSAA Boys Sweet Sixteen on Thursday afternoon.

Nah.

Blame it on Rowan County's defense. Coach Shawn Thacker's Vikings have a habit of making opponents look like they're playing in mittens and Mukluks.

"We're pretty good on that end of the floor. I thought that's what carried us today — defense and rebounding," Thacker said after Rowan County earned its first state tournament victory after losing in the first round in four previous appearances.

Rowan County's defense and state-tournament jitters (and the frosty floor?) conspired to make it a miserable afternoon for Daviess County's offense.

The Panthers shot 5-for-29 (17 percent) in the first half and trailed 21-12. Midway through the fourth quarter they were still a frigid 8-for-47 (17 percent), and Rowan County had opened up a 41-19 lead.

Daviess County finished with a flourish (relatively speaking) and ended the day 13-for-59 (22 percent).

Rowan County won the battle of the boards 47-34.

Panthers Coach Caleb Smith credited Rowan County for keeping his team from getting anything easy inside.

"We knew they were a good defensive team, but on film it's hard to see how strong they really are. They're absolute men in the paint."

He was referring to the Vikings' 6-foot-7 Corey Hunter and 6-4 Adam Wing.

Thacker praised Hunter's job on Daviess County's burly 6-4 John Allen, holding him to 1-for-10 shooting.

"I told Corey he had to have a hand up in his face, and it was important to block a shot or two early," Thacker said. "We encouraged him to be aggressive and he was. He shut the paint off for us."

Hunter said it wasn't easy.

"It was tough out there. (Allen's) a big ol' boy."

Rowan County's perimeter defenders, particularly D.J. Townsend and Darrell Cross, also disrupted the Panthers' three-point shooters.

Wing said the Vikings get their inspiration from their coach. "He's intense about defense in practice every day. We don't worry about offense."

Daviess County's defense did a decent number on the Vikings, holding them to 18-for-51 shooting (35 percent).

But Rowan County got enough done on the offensive end to play in the lead most of the afternoon.

Thacker singled out left-hander Jason Egan's two three-pointers in the first half for sparking them early.

"One coach in the (16th) region calls him our 'silent assassin," and I thought he was a silent assassin today."

Egan led the winners with 14 points. Wing had 12 points and 14 rebounds. Hunter added eight points and seven rebounds.

Tyler Lashbrook led Daviess County with 13 points, including four threes.

Lashbrook said the Panthers' poor shooting was "contagious," and "it got to where we never could find the basket."

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