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Knox County Boys Finish Courtwarming Sweep Over Tigers
By David Sharp
An overmatched Scotland County team battled at Knox County on Courtwarming Night. The Eagles (7-4, 2-1 in the conference) played better as the game went on and powered to a 64-48 victory.
Knox County featured a big play defense along with 15 points from the three point line. The home team held the Tigers without a home run ball this night.
Lucas Hudson appeared to start the anticipated rout with a game opening three pointer. Scotland County (2-11, 0-1) slowed the game pace and scored the next four points for a 4-3 lead. Knox County would open a lead and Scotland County would battle back.
Knox County defensive pressure along with a Dennis Dent home run ball and subsequent field goal lifted the Eagles to a 14-8 lead with 2:33 showing on the first quarter clock. The Tigers fought back with a 6-1 run to a 15-14 KCHS lead. Knox County led 20-16 at the break.
Dennis Dent scored followed by Brett Bryant tossing in a three ball for a 20-14 lead. Kyle Shelley blocked a Dennis Dent attempt and scored at the 5:44 mark of the second quarter for a 23-22 Eagle edge.
The Eagles opened a seven point lead when Brett Bryant tossed in a free throw with 2:16 to play in the first half.
Scotland County trimmed the margin to 30-27 late in the half on two Kyle Shelly put backs. Cody Morgenstern celebrated his return to the court with a put back two with 14 seconds remaining in the first half for a 32-27 Knox County lead.
The teams continued to battle to a 46-37 Knox County edge after three periods of play. Lucas Hudson helped open a 38-29 KCHS lead with 4:34 remaining in period three. Scotland County hit their inside shots and pulled within a 39-37 margin.
Keenan Gillaspy lit the fuse for a decisive 16-2 Knox County run with a three pointer at the 3:14 mark of the third quarter and a 42-37 Eagle lead. Scotland County hurt themselves with turnovers during the stretch.
Knox County led 55-39 when Dennis Dent completed a three point play at the 4:35 juncture. The Eagles built a 60-45 lead with 2:14 to play in the game.
Kyle Shelley and Brandon Garnett led the Tigers with 16 points each. Kyle Shelley had a big night on the glass with 16 rebounds. Jacob Howard sat out several minutes in foul trouble. Howard finished as the third Scotland County player in double figures with 12 points. Scotland County was 6-11 at the free throw line.
Scotland County made plays in the lane, and outscored the Eagles 21-16 in made field goals. “Offense doesn’t come easy for us. Everything we get on the offensive end is from scratching and fighting,” said Tiger coach Lance Campbell.
“The kids have a lot of grit and a lot of heart,” said Campbell. “They could have folded up and quit very easily. We have lost our last two games to quality competition. I appreciate their effort.”
Both teams pulled down 16 offensive rebounds. Scotland County held a 35-30 game advantage on the boards. Knox County forced 26 turnovers and stole the basketball 18 times on the night. The Eagles had 14 turnovers with six Tiger steals.
Knox County was 15-26 from the free throw line for 58%. “We created a lot of offense with our defense tonight,” commented Eagle coach Jesse Crawford. “We caused 26 turnovers. Lucas Hudson had an extraordinary game tonight. He scored 11 points against North Shelby and 17 tonight.”
“Dennis Dent had 24 (points) and nine (rebounds). We are on a three game winning streak. We did a good job limiting (Jacob) Howard and (Kyle) Shelly inside in the second half.”
Dennis Dent led all scorers with 24 Eagle points, nine rebounds; three steals and as many assists. Lucas Hudson added five assists and four steals to his 17 point night. Keenan Gillaspy scored eight points with three assists and shared the game lead with Lucas Hudson with four steals.
Mitchel Penn recorded six points, eight rebounds, and three steals. Brett Bryant scored four KCHS points. Justin Reeves scored three and Cody Morgenstern added two Knox County points.
“We knew we had to push the ball really quick and penetrate to beat their zone (defense), related Knox County senior Lucas Hudson. “We usually let it get away from us in the second half. This time we knew we had to get it done. We hustled. You don’t have to have a lot of skills to hustle. Scotland County has some pretty good post players. They played hard.”