Eagle Boys Adjust And Overcome Raiders
By David Sharp
North Shelby hit the boards hard in the first half of their February 12 Brashear Tournament boy’s championship semi-final match with Knox County. The Raiders (6-12) answered a pair of Tristan Lonberger home run balls with a 9-2 run.
North Shelby led by as many as five points before second half adjustments led to a 56-44 Knox County victory. The Eagles (13-7) stretched their win streak to six consecutive games.
The Eagles missed the presence of Class 2 all district center Justin Reeves, who missed the game due to illness. Knox County scored their first nine points from the three point arc.
North Shelby cashed in rebounds and steals for a 21-17 edge with 4:43 remaining in the first half. The Eagles tied the score at 24 entering intermission. Cameron Kirmse helped the Eagles create scoring chances with dribble drive penetration.
The Raiders came out cold from the perimeter during the third quarter. Both sides played hard in a typical conference rivalry game.
Knox County displayed toughness, embarking on a 10-2 run to a 34-26 lead. Joe Rice capped the surge with a put back.
The Eagles outscored North Shelby 19-8 in the third quarter.
Cameron Kirmse finished a hard nosed drive in traffic at the 4:03 mark of period three. Knox County led 43-32 at the final break. The Eagles led by as many as 11 points during the fourth quarter.
Alex thrasher trimmed the deficit to six points with a three ball at the four minute mark of the fourth period.
North Shelby pulled within four points. Tristan Lonberger sank a huge momentum stalling lay up for a 50-44 lead with 3:09 showing on the game clock.
Knox County scored the final six points of the contest. The Eagles won despite a 10-19 night at the charity stripe. The Raiders went 9-14 at the free throw line.
KCHS senior Tristan Lonberger displayed leadership at critical times and finished with a game high 26 points. “We played without a true post player. We were playing with four guards out there,” said Lonberger.
“We put Cameron (Kirmse) on John Stoneburner in the second half. He played hard defense and didn’t let him score. We are back in the championship game for the (fourth) time in a row. We lost a close one to Brashear last year. Hopefully this time we will win it.”
Lance McMahon had another twin digit night with ten points. Keenan Gillaspy scored seven points. Cameron Kirmse put in six KCHS points. Leighton McCabe dug out several key rebounds and finished with three points. Brock Couch and Joe Rice added two points each.
Alex Thrasher led North Shelby with 14 points. Freshman post player Kendle Smith was in double figures with ten points. John Stoneburner finished with eight points, six in the first half.
North Shelby coach Brent Blakely commented on the contest. “We came out pretty flat in the second half. You can’t do that against a team like Knox (County). They got some offensive rebounds. It seemed like that was where they got a lot of their offense.”
“We try to be aggressive against every team we play,” said Coach Blakely. We are not a really confident team from the outside yet. We are getting better. We have some young guys that are playing awfully hard for me.”
“We made some adjustments at half time. The guys followed the game plan. We switched defenses and held (John) Stoneburner to two points in the second half,” said Knox County coach Jesse Crawford.
“That was the difference. I’m really happy with the guys. We have won six in a row. If we win tomorrow night, it will be the longest winning streak I have had since I have been here in four years.”