Sparked by senior guard Lukas Greenhill's career-high 27-point effort, the host Mason County Royals got off to a positive start to the season with a 79-70 win over Boyd County on Tuesday night in the Fieldhouse.
Greenhill connected on five of his eight 3-point attempts and finished the evening 11-for-17 from the field.
Senior forward Shawn Johnson pitched in 22 points, including a 9-for-10 shooting night, and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds for the Royals.
Junior guard Cameron Frame came off the bench to add 12 points, including a pair of 3s.
"Lukas had a fantastic game," said Mason County coach Chris O'Hearn. "He's really matured a lot as a basketball player and as a person. He got hit in the mouth tonight but came back in and hit a 3-pointer right away. He's a tough kid and he's worked hard to be a better player. He didn't force it tonight and he mixed it up well by driving to the basket after he made a 3.
"Shawn got a little fatigued tonight and he was in foul trouble, but he still came close to a double-double. We've got to get him the ball more, but he's also good at finding spots on the floor where he can score. Cameron was solid off the bench and I thought our depth was to our advantage tonight. It was a fast-paced game and we kind of wore them down."
The Lions were led by senior forward Grayson Griffith's 19 points. Senior forward Tristian Burgess tallied 16, including 14 in the first half. Sophomore point guard Bobby Anderson added 11 points for Boyd.
The Mason County coach was pleased for the most part with his squad's play in the opener but he also saw a few things for the Royals to work on.
"We gave a good effort and we came out and got some easy looks early against their pressure," he said. "Our defense did a much better job on Burgess in the second half. We told the kids Boyd loves to drive and kick and that's exactly what they did tonight. They did a nice job and they played hard. But we've got to do a better job of getting down and guarding people. They shot 50 percent and we'd like that to be lower.
"We also have to do a better job of taking care of the ball. But we've got to use these early games to see whose going to perform and everyone came in and contributed. The football guys have only been to seven practices, so it's still going to take them a little more time."
The Lions' drive-and-dish tactics were effective early and they trailed by a point (17-16) after a 3-pointer from Reid Rowsey with 2:12 left in the first quarter.
A Burgess 3-pointer kept Boyd within striking distance (26-22) before the Royals used an 8-2 run to take their first 10-point lead of the contest. Johnson began the run with a basket and added two more during the run, which also included a Greenhill jumper. After the Lions pulled to within six after four consecutive Anderson free throws, Mason outscored Boyd 9-2 to build a 43-30 lead. Daireus Johnson began the run with a 3-pointer before Greenhill and Frame drained back-to-back bombs.
The second half got a bit sloppy at times but Mason was able to build a 20-point lead on a couple of occasions in the third quarter. Greenhill drove to the bucket for layups within a 33-second span to lift the Royals into a 63-43 advantage at the 3:40 mark.
Even though Boyd shot 50 percent from the field (26-52), Mason was even better, hitting 32 of 60 for 53.3 percent. The Royals were 9-19 from 3-point range for 47.4 percent, but struggled at the stripe, making just 46.2 percent on 6-for-11 shooting.
The Royals travel to Independence to face Simon Kenton, 103-76 winners over Holy Cross on Monday, on Friday evening.
Boyd County 16 19 14 21 --70
Mason County 21 26 18 14 --79
BC: Griffith 19, Burgess 16, Meade 8, Black 7, Anderson 11, Guaze 4, Rowsey 3, Preece 2, Mullins 0, Evans 0. Total 70.
MC: Henry 8, S. Johnson 22, Greenhill 27, Williams 3, D. Johnson 5, Frame 12, R. Johnson 2, Thomas 0, Boone 0, Griffith 0, O'Mara 0, Humphries 0, Total 79.
3-pointers: BC 6 (Burgess 3, Anderson, Griffith, Rowsey), MC 9 (Greenhill 5, Frame 2, D. Johnson, Williams).
Records: Boyd County 0-1, Mason County 1-0.