The Russellville High School boys’ basketball team came up just short against Bowling Green in the Fourth Region championship game on Tuesday at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The Panthers were heavy underdogs against Purples, but you’d never know if from the fight they put up in the 81-62 loss.
Russellville gave the Purples all they wanted in the first quarter and trailed just 18-14 at the end of the first quarter.
Bowling Green build a big lead in the second quarter though, outscoring the Panthers 24-8 as they took a 20-point lead into halftime.
The Panthers didn’t give up, however, and actually outscored BGHS in the second half, but were unable to overcome the large deficit from the second quarter.
Micah Naylor led RHS in scoring with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, which included going 5-of-7 from behind the 4-point arc. Pedro Bradshaw finished his stellar Russellville career with 15 points and seven rebounds. Jacob Naylor added 12 points and Jaylyn McMurry finished with eight points.
Bowling Green was led by Zion Harmon, who had 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting. Terry Taylor had a double-double with 22 points and 17 rebounds. Kyran Jones added 12 points for the Purples.
Russellville was outrebounded 44-25 by the much bigger Purples. The Panthers shot 44 percent from the field and 53 percent from 3-point range.
The Panthers advanced to the championship game by dismantling District 16 champion Clinton County 74-49 in the semifinals.
In that game, Bradshaw had a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. McMurry led the Panthers in scoring with 20 points. Micah Naylor and Jacob Naylor also scored in double digits with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
For the season, Russellville finished with a 22-12 record. It was the first time since 2001 that the Panthers played for a region championship and the first time since 2009 since any District 13 team made it that far in the region tournament.