KC Eagles Power Past Brashear To North Shelby Tournament Title Game
By David Sharp
Two of Northeast Missouri’s top boys’ basketball teams put on a great show for a packed house in January 21, 2009 North Shelby Tournament championship semi-final action.
A rapidly improving Knox County team played their best game of the season to date, overpowering Brashear by a final score of 73-65.
The Eagles (9-4) came to play and sprang to an 8-2 lead. Dennis Dent completed a three point set for the six point KCHS edge three minutes into the contest.
Trae Treasure answered with a three point play. Knox County junior Keenan Gillaspy was open on the wing and buried a home run ball for a 14-7 Knox County edge.
Action was end to end with solid play from both sides. Knox County defenders caused the Tigers to miss interior scoring chances.
Brashear forward Trae Treasure and Knox County guard Brett Bryant traded three point field goals in the final minute of the first quarter.
Knox County held a 19-15 lead after Ryan Ferdig sank a BHS free throw with 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Matt Thomas pulled the Tigers within a one point deficit on a three ball at the 5:17 juncture of period two.
Brett Wilkerson triggered a 10-4 Knox County run to a 31-24 halftime lead with a five minute mark bucket. Trae Treasure trimmed the Eagle lead to a point with about three minutes to play in the first half.
Mitchel Penn sank a pair of Knox County free throws for a 27-22 lead. Penn stole the basketball and soared for a buzzer beating lay up. Brashear (11-1, ranked eighth in Missouri Boys’ Class 1) challenged several times but could never get past a determined Knox County effort.
“We knew we had to play hard,” said KCHS senior Mitchel Penn. “We took them out of their game. We had to keep our composure. It feels great to beat a team like that.”
Knox County forced 18 Brashear turnovers, six above their highest total of the season. The Eagles would not allow Brashear to beat them off the dribble and slash to the rack.
The Eagles turned Brashear miscues into points early in the third period and forged a 39-26 lead. The Tigers came back with the next five points. Justin Reeves scored eight third quarter points for Knox County.
Keenan Gillaspy stole the rock and put Knox County up 46-34 with 2:54 showing on the third quarter clock. Brashear answered with a six point spurt. Trae Treasure’s free throw pulled the Tigers back within a 46-40 deficit with 1:19 to go in period three.
Knox County answered the bell with a seven point streak. Brett Bryant canned a three with 23 seconds to play in the quarter. Justin Reeves scored a the buzzer for a 55-40 Knox County margin entering the final quarter.
Brashear opened the fourth quarter on a 7-2 run. Kiley Watson powered home a field goal for a 57-47 Knox County edge with 4:49 to play in the game. Knox County pushed the lead to 61-51 with 3:17 remaining.
Both sides played intense basketball to the final horn. Brashear had one final go at remaining unbeaten on the season.
Justin Hazen and Ryan Ferdig tossed in Tiger three balls. Ferdig’s long toss pulled the Tigers within a 65-58 deficit with 2:07 to play in the game.
Dennis Dent sank two KCHS free throws with 1:47 to play followed by a key Brett Wilkerson field goal with 62 ticks on the game clock.
Ryan Ferdig buried another three with 29 seconds to play. Knox County moved on to the championship game with the 73-65 victory.
“We just didn’t come ready to play,” said Brashear coach Don Wilburn. “We weren’t fired up. The unofficial turnover count is probably low. There was one stretch where we turned the ball over three of four times in a row. You can’t do that against a quality ball club.”
“They got in the passing lanes,” said Coach Wilburn of the long armed KCHS defense. Those turnovers were a deciding factor in the outcome. Give them credit, they hit free throws and did a lot of little things right down the stretch. We will probably get to play them a couple more times this season.”
“Playing good competition will only help both teams get ready for districts,” said Wilburn.
Knox County out rebounded Brashear by an unofficial 34-29 margin. The teams were near even in steals.
Brashear sank 27 of 68 shots on the night for 39.7%. Trae Treasure led all scorers with 28 Brashear points. Kiley Watson scored 18 points with seven rebounds.
Ryan Ferdig put forth a strong effort and finished with 14 Tiger points. Matt Thomas scored three points and Justin Hazen added two Brashear points. Brashear was 7-10 from the free throw line for 70%.
Knox County sank 21 of 28 free throws for 75% on the night. The Eagles were 14-16 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.
Mitchel Penn led three Knox County players in double figures with 21 points along with six assists and eight rebounds. Dennis Dent scored 13 points along with 11 rebounds.
Keenan Gillaspy fired in 14 points with four steals. Justin Reeves scored eight KCHS points with nine rebounds. Lucas Hudson scored seven points with five assists.
Knox County outscored Brashear 10-0 off the bench. Brett Bryant scored six points and Brett Wilkerson contributed four.
“The bottom line is that is a great ball club in there,” said Knox County Coach Jesse Crawford “They were 11-0 for a reason. Our guys battled hard. We had some turnovers. We are still going through some growing pains. We are getting better each and every time out.”
“Mitchel Penn played like a warrior tonight,” said Coach Crawford. “He went to the rim with reckless abandon. Dennis Dent was sick as a dog. He has battled the flu.”
“We got the ball down below the elbow and made shots when we needed them. You can’t give enough credit to Coach (Don) Wilburn’s team.”
“We have to go over there and play (February 2). That is a tough place to play. This is a quality win for our program, but you can’t get too high,” said Jesse Crawford. “In a couple of weeks, they are going to be wanting us pretty bad at their place.”