BORDER RIVALS: Carroll County’s Brandon Stewart (above, 2) pressures Trimble County’s Robbie Brooks (20) during Thursday’s game in Carrollton. The Panthers’ Dallas Gibson (below) shoots over Trimble’s Michael Dunaway. Carroll won 67-56. (Staff photos by David Hill)
BORDER RIVALS: Carroll County’s Brandon Stewart (above, 2) pressures Trimble County’s Robbie Brooks (20) during Thursday’s game in Carrollton. The Panthers’ Dallas Gibson (below) shoots over Trimble’s Michael Dunaway. Carroll won 67-56. (Staff photos by David Hill)
Strong inside play at both ends of the floor by host Carroll County thwarted a potent outside attack by Trimble County - the Raiders stroked a dozen 3-pointers - in a 67-56 Panther win in the latest installment of their border rivalry Thursday night in Carrollton.

After trailing early in the game, Carroll took the lead late the first quarter and never gave it back en route to the 11-point win.

The Raiders' Andrew Young and Evan Long were forces to be reckoned with from beyond the arc, but Carroll County's dominant inside work of Dallas Gibson and Trey Boles won out in the end.

"I'm tickled to death with tonight's win," said Carroll County head coach Carroll Yager. "It was a well-played game, a great atmosphere - just like a district tournament game."

Gibson, Carroll County's 6-foot-4 senior forward, led all players with a big double-double of 22 points and 15 rebounds while facing double-team defense most of the game. Boles, a 6-foot-3 senior forward who also was double-covered much of the night, added 15 points for the Panthers.

Trimble County head coach John Leep Jr. was impressed with the performance of both teams and noted Gibson is one of the more underrated players in the region.

"Dallas is relentless on the glass," Leep, who served as Gibson's coach in seventh grade, said. "He may not get all of the recognition, but he's one of the top players in the Eighth Region.

"I thought everybody out there played extremely hard, and that's what rivalries are all about," Leep added. "We tried to focus on Trey and Dallas and work a triangle-and-two defense, but we left ourselves vulnerable to offensive rebounds."

The Raiders placed three players in double figures as Young, a 5-foot-10 junior guard, scored 19 while 5-foot-11 senior guard Robbie Brooks added 17 and Long, a 5-foot-9 sophomore guard, added 12. The trio also did all of the Raiders' damage from long range as Young hit six treys, Long sank four and Brooks hit two.

"We work hard on the 3-pointers," Leep said. "I usually let the guards shoot about 500 shots per day and I think they've developed natural ability."

"You know we're playing well when the other team makes 12 3-pointers and they don't come away with a win," Yager said. "It says a lot for our offense and rebounding. We had great preparation for this game and made very few mistakes. I think we only turned the ball over eight times.

Michael Dunaway got the Raiders off and running with the game's first basket before Trimble opened up from long range to hit four treys in the opening period. That allowed Trimble to swap leads with Carroll until late in the period when the Panthers took over for good. Boles scored the go-ahead basket with about a minute to go in the opening frame and Carroll never looked back.

Carroll County carried that momentum into the second quarter where Boles nailed a 3-pointer to put the Panthers up 20-14. Meanwhile, the Panthers' inside game weighed in with rebounding and tip-ins by Gibson and strong play by Brandon Stewart, who finished with nine points after being shut out in the Panthers' season opener against Villa Madonna.

Jacob Wise, who played his best game of the young season, also contributed in the second quarter for Carroll as the Panthers built a 30-22 cushion by halftime. Wise also delivered a big 3-pointer in the fourth quarter as well as strong floor play in the stretch.

"Jacob made some great plays in the fourth quarter," Yager said. "He hit a 3-pointer, made a superb pass inside to Dallas and was sharp on defense."

While Long had the hot hand for Trimble with a trio of 3-pointers in the opening quarter, Young heated up for three treys coming out of halftime and the Raiders stayed within striking range throughout the period. Trimble slashed the deficit to six on several occasions and were within five of the Panthers at the end of the quarter at 41-36.

Trimble added three more 3-pointers in the final quarter, but those points were never much of a factor as the Panthers' inside dominance took over the game. The Raiders were forced to foul Carroll in desperation and the Panthers hit 13-of-18 free throws in the period to stave off any hope of a comeback.

The Panthers' free throw shooting in the final quarter proved to be the big difference in the win. Carroll was only 15-of-24 on the night for 62.5 percent but that dwarfed the perimeter-oriented Raiders, who went to the foul line just seven times and made only two.

Dunaway, Trimble County's 6-foot-4 freshman forward who was playing in his first varsity game, ended the night with six points and drew plenty of praise from his coach.

"Michael is just a freshman and I think his inside play will be a long-time force to be dealt with," Leep said.

Both teams will be on the road for their next games. Trimble County visits Owen County Tuesday and Carroll County visits Williamstown Monday.


Thursday's Boys' Game

at Carrollton, Ky.


TRIMBLE CO. 14 8 13 21 - 56

CARROLL CO. 17 13 11 26 - 67

TRIMBLE CO. (0-1, 0-1 NCKC) - (g)Young 19, (g)Brooks 17, Long 12, (f)Dunaway 6, (f)Merrill 2, (g)Long 0, Wyssbrod 0, Rexroat 0.

CARROLL CO. (2-0, 1-0 NCKC) - (f)Gibson 22, (f)Boles 15, (g)Stewart 9, (c)Corbin 8, Wise 7, Damron 6, (g)Crowell 0, Adams 0.

3-Point Goals - Trimble Co. 12 (Young 6, Long 4, Brooks 2), Carroll Co. 4 (Boles 2, Stewart 1, Wise 1). Total Fouls - Trimble Co. 19, Carroll Co. 14. Fouled Out - Trimble Co. Young. Free Throws - Trimble Co. 2-7 (28.6%), Carroll Co. 15-24 (62.5%). Next Game - Trimble Co. visits Owen Co. on Tuesday, Carroll Co. visits Williamstown on Monday.