After seeing Lakeside jump out 8-0 and then lead 14-5 with 1:07 left in the first quarter, Evans head coach Kevin Kenny wasn’t worried.
Nor should he have been. After calling timeout, the Knights cut their deficit to 14-10 by the end of the quarter, then outscored the Panthers 23-4 in the second quarter to take a 33-18 halftime lead. Keeping the Panthers from making any sustained runs in the second half, the Knights went on to the 55-44 win.
“We’re an experienced team, I know what I’ve got, I know the kids I’ve got and I have faith that they’re going to play like they’re capable of playing,” Kenny said. “It’s a game of runs and you just have to weather the storm and settle in and play basketball.”
The difference in the game came from long range. After missing their first four 3-pointers, after Kenny’s timeout the Knights hit 1-of-2 from behind the arc and then went 6-for-8 in the second quarter. The Knights (11-4, 2-0 Region 2A-AAAAA) finished 9-of-22 for the game while the Panthers were just 3-of-20.
“We’ve got some kids who can shoot and the odds of them being off at the same time are pretty slim, I think,” Kenny said.
After missing his first trey in the first quarter, it was Matlin Marshall who caught fire for the Knights in the second quarter.
After sinking a layup as time expired in the first quarter, the Knights’ guard buried four of the Knights’ six 3-pointers in the second quarter.
“The momentum just took me and I was able to hit my shots,” said Marshall, who scored a game-high 17 points.
Defensively, the Knights switched from a 1-3-1 defense that the Panthers were taking advantage of early on, going to a more effective 2-3 zone that helped cause eight Panthers (10-3, 1-1) turnovers in the second quarter.
Trailing by 15 late in the third quarter, the Panthers went on a quick 5-0 run on a putback by Jake Gilbert and a Sam Powell 3-pointer to cut the lead to 40-30.
Evans’ K’lon Lovett sucked the wind out of the comeback knocking down the second of his two 3-pointers immediately after Powell’s, stretching the lead back to 13 points.
A Powell 3-pointer with 1:16 left in the game cut the lead to 53-44, but that would be as close as they would get.
Patrick Lawrence added 12 points for the Knights while Lovett and Kameron Mason had nine points apiece.
Powell led the Panthers with 16 points.