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By David Sharp
Knox County’s defense was able to pull out a streak filled varsity boys game win during the Eagle Senior Night vs. Clark County. The Eagles had good overall scoring balance and were able to make Clark County scoring leaders Layne Sommers and Sam Wheeler sit out in foul trouble for a 44-36 win.
Knox County held Clark County to 22 points through three quarters on defense.
Knox County seniors Conner Hayes, Elliott Ogden, Coltin Morrow, Matthew Carlson, Alyssa Peavler, Kinsley Johnson, Kaitlin Campbell, Kylee Woods and Riley Strange were honored along with senior cheerleader Lani Watts.
The Eagles (4-2) battled to a 10-4 first quarter lead. Rylan Roberts drove the lane for a field goal with 35 seconds remaining in the period. Clark County missed five first quarter free throws.
Neither team did well from the free throw line. Clark County (4-6) was 6-13 overall from the line. Knox County was 6-14 at the charity stripe. The Eagles did step up and sink five of seven from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.
Knox County ran the court during a 12-0 run to a 28-10 third quarter lead. The Eagles held a 16-10 halftime advantage. Clark County roared back within a 28-20 deficit with ten unanswered points. Sam Wheeler sank a pair of Indian free throws with 1:21 showing on the third quarter clock.
Coltin Morrow drove the lane for a 30-20 Eagle lead with 1:08 to play in the period. Sam Wheeler picked up his fourth foul with four seconds to play in the third quarter. Knox County took a 30-22 lead to the final eight minutes.
Carter Briscoe capped a 5-0 Clark County run with a three ball, trimming the Knox County edge to 30-27. Conner Hayes answered with a Knox County home run ball with 5:33 to play in the game.
Gabe Hunziker sank two key Clark County free throws for a 37-31 Knox County edge with 3:14 to play in the game. Rylan Roberts and Colt Morrow had clutch converted drives in the final four minutes.
Sam Wheeler challenged the Eagle lead with a Clark County bucket with 1:20 remaining. Knox County led 39-33. Conner Hayes and Rylan Roberts sank KCHS free throws to seal the 44-36 win.
“I thought they did a good job on defense,” Knox County coach James Dent said. “That’s what won the game for us. On the other hand, I know we are able to score way more points than we did tonight.”
“I feel like we are a better team than we showed tonight, but they weathered the storm. Momentum got on their side when Clark put on that press,” James Dent said. “They sped us up and made us take probably not the best shots in the world.”
“They got the momentum back on our side late in the game,” Coach Dent said. “I’m proud of them for that.”
Sam Wheeler led all scorers with 16 Clark County points. Layne Sommers was in double figures with 11 points. Carter Briscoe scored five and Gabe Hunziker added four Indian points.
Coltin Morrow led Knox County with 11 points. Jacob Becker and Conner Hayes scored eight points each. Rylan Roberts scored seven points. Nelson Shinkle scored four points. Braydon Miller and Blake Parrish scored three points each.
“The first half, we just couldn’t convert,” Clark County coach Adam Rung said. “We missed five free throws. We probably missed six or seven lay ups. We gave up 16 points in the first half.”
“We probably had a breakdown or two defensively. With that, we were just down six points at halftime,” Adam Rung said. “Defensively we were OK. Offensively it’s been a struggle all year.”
“We just didn’t come out in the third quarter. Knox got out and scored some layups in transition and got up 28-10. From that point forward I thought our kids competed their (tails) off,” Adam Rung said.
“We played hard. We started being more aggressive offensively,” Coach Rung said. “We got to the free throw line. Made some free throws, finished some shots. We just couldn’t get over the hump at the end.”