By David Sharp
Justin Ellison completed a three point play with 25 seconds remaining in a December 4, non-conference boys' basketball game at Canton for a 58-56 win over Knox County. The Eagles (1-1) had a ten second call and a five second turnover go against them during the last minute of the contest.
The rematch of last season's fourth and fifth Moberly District seeds was close throughout. Knox County held a 12-11 edge after one period of play.
Canton forged a 21-16 second quarter lead. Knox County responded with a string of nine unanswered points for a 25-21 lead. The teams retired to their dressing rooms with Knox County holding a slim 26-23 lead.
Canton outscored the Eagles 17-16 during a hotly contested third period for a 42-40 KCHS lead entering the final eight minutes. The Tigers tossed in three home run balls during the fourth quarter. Justin Ellison led the Canton rally, canning two three pointers during the last two minutes. Dennis Dent fouled out on the eventual game deciding three point play.
Dennis Dent scored a game high 18 points along with nine rebounds. Dent was 6-7 at the free throw line. Daniel McMahon and Cory Shultz were in double figures with 13 points each. Zach Parrish scored eight KCHS points. Ethan Hustead and Mitchel Penn added two Knox County points each.
The Eagles sank nearly 61% from the free throw line at 14 of 23. Canton shot a nearly identical 14 of 24 (58%) from the charity stripe. Drew Ayers and Justin Ellison led Canton with 16 points each. Ayers rebounded in double figures with ten. Colt Carper was in double figures with 11 Tiger points.
"We didn't get the breaks," said Knox County coach Jesse Crawford. "We made too many mental mistakes down the stretch. We are going to use this as motivation for the rest of the season. This is a big, disheartening loss for us. We were up the whole game until the last 25 seconds."
"We need to go to Philadelphia and get back on the winning track," said Crawford. "They beat us twice last year." Knox County travels to Marion County on December 11. The Eagles travel to Brookfield for a Tri-Rivers Conference twin bill on Thursday, December 13. Knox County hosts Scotland County for a non-conference varsity doubleheader on Friday, December 14.
Knox County turned the basketball over 19 times and dished out eight assists at Canton. The Eagles pulled down 39 rebounds on the night.