KC Eagles Down Raiders
By David Sharp
Knox County sprang to an 11-3 lead in Brashear Tournament championship semi-final action and powered to a 50-27 win over conference rival North Shelby.
Tenacious Knox County defense limited North Shelby (7-11) to eight made field goals, a pair of John Stoneburner three balls and a 5-8 performance at the free throw line.
The Eagles (16-5) had a great night on the boards, holding a 37-22 rebound edge at the close of play. Knox County turned the ball over 23 times compared to 13 unofficial Raider turnovers. North Shelby held a 10-8 edge in team steals.
Knox County moved the ball well, dishing out 13 assists to five for North Shelby. Both sides played tough interior defense. Knox County blocked five shots and the Raiders four.
North Shelby fought back within a 15-8 KCHS lead after one period of play. The Eagles dominated the second quarter, going on a 12-2 run to a 27-10 halftime lead.
The Raiders had a good five minute third quarter stretch. Michael Stoneburner trimmed the Eagle lead to 34-20 with a minute and 20 seconds remaining in the period.
Knox County responded with an 8-3 run to a 42-23 lead after three quarters of basketball. Lucas Hudson scored with 4:28 to play in the game for a 48-25 Eagle lead.
Mitchel Penn scored a game high 17 points with ten unofficial rebounds. Dennis Dent scored 13 points with eight rebounds and a team leading five assists. Justin Reeves pounded home 11 points with ten boards.
Lucas Hudson tossed in seven points and Brett Bryant added two. John Stoneburner paced the Raiders with eight points. “We didn’t help ourselves by turning the ball over so many times early in the game,” commented Raider coach Bret Blakely.
“We didn’t block out. It was fundamental basketball,” said Coach Blakely. “Knox is big and athletic inside. They took advantage of that. We get in holes, and we can’t get out.”
“We forced them to turn the ball over a lot,” said Eagle coach Jesse Crawford. “We did a good job of limiting their looks. They only got one shot per possession. We played at the tempo we wanted. We got the ball to our bigs in one on one situations.”
“We had (Mitchel) Penn drive to the basket. We sat out Keenan Gillaspy due to a minor injury. He will be ready to go Saturday night,” said Coach Crawford. “We got our 16th win tonight. If you can limit a team to one shot per possession, it’s impossible for them to go on a long run.”
Two time defending Brashear Tournament champion Knox County challenged Brashear (14-4) for the boys’ championship.