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Senior point guard Kelton “Putt-Putt” Ford and sophomore reserve shooting guard Micah Wiseman both had career nights Friday as the homestanding LaRue County Hawks pulled away from 18th District rival Green County.
Ford scored four of his game-high 22 points off his first two career dunks and Wiseman scored all of his career-high 18 points from the arc as Hawks emerged with a 66-42 win over the Dragons.
“I think everyone was in shock,” Ford said of his newfound slamming ability. “But I promised everyone that it would come sooner or later.”
Ford finished with eight points (two dunks, one layup and one reverse layup) off steals and also scored eight points in a 40-second span in the fourth quarter to push the Hawks’ lead to 58-33 with 2:23 left.
“He’s got to go,” said veteran LaRue County coach Paul Childress. “He has to get in there (the lane) and make things happen. When he decides to go to the rim, there’s not many people who can stop him.”
All but one of Wiseman’s 3s came off passes from Ford, who had seven assists, seven steals and five rebounds. Wiseman hit four 3s in a 6-minute span in the second half.
“My job is just to knock down shots and I could tell in warm-ups that it was going to be a good night because I felt good,” said Wiseman, who was 6-of-9 from the arc. “I think if I get hot, I can knock down seven or eight.”
Wiseman’s previous career-best was 15 points Dec. 17 against Campbellsville.
“We’re going to see a lot of zones, especially in our district,” Childress said. “Micah did what we asked him to do by getting to the open spot on the floor and knocking down shots. Putt-Putt did a good job of drawing the defense and finding him.”
Ford said Wiseman has given the Hawks a threat LaRue County has struggled to find with the graduation of All-Area honoree Kyle Sheeran.
“Last year, Kyle was the one that opened up the defense from the outside,” Ford said. “This year, that’s kind of Micah’s role and he’s really taken it on.”
Sophomore forward Caleb Sheffer and junior forward Tyler Howell both approached double-doubles for the Hawks (8-5, 2-1 district), who moved within a half game of the district lead after Hart County (8-6, 2-3) stunned Caverna (11-4, 3-1), 52-51 on Friday. Sheffer had eight points and nine rebounds, while Howell had seven points and nine rebounds.
Green County trailed 23-19 with 3:27 left in the first half on a layup by sophomore guard Levi Murphy, but the Dragons went more than 10 minutes before making their next field goal and fell into a 17-point hole before senior post Dakota Westmoreland’s three-point play.
Westmoreland led Green County (3-12, 1-3) with 10 points and five rebounds. Sophomore guard Colton Bush added eight points and three assists, while senior post Kyle Patterson had five points.
LARUE COUNTY 66, GREEN COUNTY 42
Green County 12 8 4 18—42
LaRue County 11 16 14 25—66
Green County (3-12, 1-3)
Dakota Westmoreland 10, Colton Bush 8, Kenny Banks 6, Jackson Edwards 5, Kyle Patterson 5, Levi Murphy 4, Dominique Compton 2, Sam Moore 2. FG: 15-40. FT: 8-14. 3-pointers: 4-14 (Bush 2-6, Murphy 0-3, Edwards 1-2, Westmoreland 1-2, Banks 0-1). Rebs: 23 (Westmoreland 5). Assists: 5 (Bush 3). Steals: 4 (Murphy 2).
LaRue County (8-5, 2-1)
Kelton Ford 22, Micah Wiseman 18, Caleb Sheffer 8, Tyler Howell 7, Kody Key-Close 4, Thomas Harman 3, Dustin Coulter 2, Dalton Metcalf 2. FG: 23-57. FT: 13-19. 3-pointers: 7-21 (Wiseman 6-9, Coulter 0-4, Harman 1-3, Ford 0-2, Howell 0-1, Key-Close 0-1, Sheffer 0-1). Rebs: 32 (Howell 9, Sheffer 9). Assists: 11 (Ford 7, Harman 3). Steals: 16 (Ford 7, Howell 3).
UP NEXT: LaRue County plays at Adair County at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Nathaniel Bryan can be reached at (270) 505-1758 or firstname.lastname@example.org.