By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
MADISON COUNTY —
The Eagles didn’t waste any time jumping on top of McCreary Central, then cruised the rest of the way in a 78-56 blowout of the Raiders.
Eleven players scored in the game as the Eagles’ bench got extended playing time. Tyler Abshear led the way with 20 points while Mike Rothermel was the only other Eagle to hit double-figures, finishing with 16 points.
Southern coach Shane Buttry said he was hoping for a chance to rest some of his players with a tough matchup with East Jessamine looming today.
“We jumped out in front of them early and that was our No. 1 goal so we could get some rest for our guards,” Buttry said. “Tomorrow we are going to face a lot of traps and presses and they are going to be all over us, so resting those guys was the best part.”
Southern’s full-court press forced the Raiders into numerous turnovers that fueled a 15-2 run that broke the game open mid-way through the first quarter.
An Abshear three-pointer at the buzzer gave the Eagles a 20-8 lead after one quarter.
The Eagles stretched their lead to 21 points at the half as they doubled up the Raiders, 42-21.
With the starters only on the floor for about three minutes in the third quarter, the Eagles continued the onslaught, with the majority of their points coming from their bench as the lead grew to as much as 26 points in the fourth quarter.
Marlin Taylor led the way for the Eagles bench, scoring seven points, while Scott Brandenburg added five points, Trevor Huff had four, Jake Napier and Devante Linville had three points each and Nick Hume had two.
Starters Damien Harris finished with six points, Drew Taylor had five and Spencer Stone had four in limited playing time.
Buttry said the extra minutes for his bench players would reap dividends down the road.
“We are going to need some of our bench guys later in the year. I would much rather let them get their butterflies out of the way in a game like this in the middle of the year than in a district tournament game when they have to come in,” Buttry said. “It’ll pay off later. Now when we call their name three weeks from now, they are going to be ready to get off the bench and be ready to contribute when we need them.”
The Eagles have a rematch with East Jessamine at 7 p.m. today. The Jaguars defeated the Eagles in the finals of the Peoples Bank Classic Dec. 22.