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By David Sharp
Atlanta scored the first five points of a February 21, Knox County Senior Night boys’ basketball game. The Eagles (16-9) answered with a 15-6 run to a 15-11 first quarter lead. Knox County led by ten points most of the way and claimed a 71-54 win. Daniel McMahon led three Eagles in double figures with 25 points.
Knox County held a solid rebounding advantage at the end of the night. The Eagles had a good inside game.
A quick athletic Hornet team stayed in the game with good shooting and by driving the lane. The Hornets (5-17) have averaged losing by three or four points most of the season.
Mitchel Penn took advantage of a four shot Knox County scoring chance and finished for a 17-14 Eagle lead with seven minutes to play in the second quarter. The Eagles used their inside punch to outscore the Hornets 16-12 in the second quarter for a 31-23 intermission edge.
The Hornets matched a 16 point Knox County third quarter with 15, including a pair of three balls. Zach Parrish put the Eagles up 27-17 with a three point bomb with 3:41 to play in the second quarter.
Atlanta hung tough remaining within a six to ten point margin until late in the game. Zach Parrish connected from three point land for a 38-28 lead with 4:35 showing on the third quarter clock.
Javaun West drove the lane and trimmed the Eagle lead to 38-33 with 3:20 to play in period three. Daniel McMahon answered 15 seconds later. The Eagles led 47-38 at the three quarter pole.
Knox County outscored their guests 24-16 in the fourth quarter. Zeke Garnett pulled the hornets back within nine points at 59-50 with 2:49 to play in the game. Knox County put the game on ice with an 8-2 run to a 67-52 lead with 65 seconds remaining.
Knox County had a good night from the free throw line, sinking 13 of 18 attempts. Both teams converted four three pointers on the night. Atlanta was 12-21 from the charity stripe.
Javaun West led the Hornets with 21 points. Zeke Garnett fired in 19 Atlanta points. Jamill Teter tossed in seven Hornet points.
"We talk about not necessarily playing perfect, but making perfect decisions with the basketball," said Hornet coach Jason Daniels. "Tonight we didn’t do that. We threw the ball away. We have to take care of the basketball because we are going to get out sized much of the time."
"We didn’t check (Dennis) Dent the way we should have, and we didn’t cover their shooters either," said Coach Daniels. "They have a nice team. I don’t think people realize how good Knox County’s boys are. They are as good a basketball team as we have seen this year."
Daniel McMahon captured game scoring honors with 25 points. Dennis Dent reached the 20 point mark. Zach Parrish was the third Eagle in double figures with 12 points. Cory Shultz scored eight points and Mitchel Penn added six points.
Knox County seniors Shane Clouse, Zach Parrish, Cory Shultz, Daniel McMahon, John Greenley and Ethan Hustead etched their names on the best boys’ basketball season the Eagles have enjoyed in 18 years.
Knox County will try for win number 17 against seventh seeded Marceline on February 26 in the Moberly District.
Knox County was 15-11 overall after Dick Robinson’s final season at Knox County in 1993-94.
See KC Boys, Page 12
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Knox County lost to Milan in the district championship game in 1994-95. The Eagles finished 17-11 in Charlie Jennings’ first year at Knox County. Brent Franke and Brett Snow were seniors on the ’94-95 varsity boys’ club.
Knox County’s varsity boys averaged eight wins and the girls five wins per season beginning with the 1996-97 campaigns. Jesse Crawford’s Eagles had the first even KCHS varsity basketball season in a decade last year.
"It was a rough fight all the way to the end," said KCHS senior Zach Parrish. "We couldn’t stop them tonight for anything. We all fought to the end. This was the last time the seniors would play on this floor. We all went out and gave it a good effort. We never let them get back within two or three points. We stayed ahead of them."
"Zeke Garnett and Javaun West are two of the best athletes and better basketball players in the area," said Knox County coach Jesse Crawford. "We didn’t do a particularly good job of stopping (Javaun) West. He shot 14 free throws in the first half. We did a better job against him in the second half."
"We mixed and matched our lineups," said Crawford. "When you have different folks out there, it’s hard to get clicking. Overall it was a good effort. It is good to see those six seniors go out with a victory on their home floor. We get to leave with a good taste in our mouths."
"The next few weeks could be the best memory they have in their high school years. We are hoping to make a really strong run through that district," said Coach Crawford. "it starts Tuesday night against Marceline. We can’t look past them."