LHS falls short to Ozark on Thursday

By: 
ALEX BOYER ALEX@LACLEDERECORD.COM

REPUBLIC — In the first game of the Billy Brown era at Lebanon, the Yellowjackets came up short in the first round of the Republic tournament to the Ozark Tigers on Thursday night, 63-60.

In a back-and-forth contest, missed free throws down the stretch from LHS proved to be crucial in the loss. The ‘Jackets finished the game 12-18 from the line, but the Tigers went to the line seven more times than Lebanon.

“I think the biggest factor in the game was that we hadn’t been in that position before,” Brown said after the game. “Shooting free throws down the stretch when the game is on the line is a little different, but I thought our guys fought back and played hard.

“We dug ourselves out of a hole a couple of times tonight, but I know by the end of Christmas time we will dig ourselves out of that hole and hold on to it, it will be a little bit fun.”
Despite shooting just 22 percent from 3-point range, Lebanon shot 49 percent from the field (23-47) and finished the game with only 12 turnovers.

In the contest, Lebanon trailed by as many as eight points and led by three at one point, but Ozark hit four critical three-pointers in the second half to hold on to the win.

“We have been working on that (3-2 zone) a lot, and everyone and their son is running it right now,” Brown mentioned. “It takes away a lot of dribble-drive angles and puts you in a position to guard the shooter. We begged them to shoot it for most of the game, and they weren’t making it until the second half.

“That is a defense that I ran towards the end of my tenure at Parkview, so I think when we get the hang of it, we will be solid.”

Lebanon junior Quenton Shelton led all scorers with 23 points, junior Jordan Lewis finished with 14, junior Ethan Christal added eight points, senior Dawson Zimdars scored seven points, senior Brady Hays chipped in six, and senior Max Schooler added two.

In the game, Lebanon had four players (Shelton, Christal, Hays, Zimdars) foul out, but Brown said he isn’t concerned with too much fouling heading into games later on this season.

“It seems like anywhere I go as a coach that the officials think my teams play too aggressive,” Brown said with a smile on his face. “I would rather play too aggressive and understand the physicality that the refs will let you play with, and once we figure that out, we are going to be tough."

For the complete article, see the Weekend print edition of The County Record, or view the e-Edition online.

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