The defending Region 2A-AAAAA champion Evans High Knights started a positive defense of their subregion title Tuesday.
The Knights built a first-half cushion and made it stand up, beating the Wolfpack of Greenbrier, 73-59.
Evans coach Kevin Kenny was pleased with the win because it helped signal a return to what he calls “the Evans way.” After the Knights lost twice in their Christmas tournament, they rebounded with a win over Cedar Shoals on Saturday with a good defensive effort. Kenny liked what he saw Tuesday night as well.
“We limited their touches and just played good hard-nosed man-to-man defense that first half,” said Kenny.
Roderick Demmons hit a free thow to open the game for the Wolfpack (6-7, 0-1 region), but that would be their final lead of the night. With the game still relatively close, the Knights (10-4, 1-0) got a 3-pointer from Patrick Lawrence with 17 seconds left and another trey by Kameron Mason with one second left as they finished the first quarter up 21-7.
The Knights’ K’lon Lovett took over in the second quarter, scoring 14 of his team-high 21 points as the Knights built their advantage to 41-23 at halftime.
Calling the Knights the best defensive team they’ve played this season, Wolfpack coach Casey Heckathorn still thought the Wolfpack missed some first-half opportunities.
“They made their shots in the paint, we didn’t,” Heckathorn said. “They made 3’s, we didn’t make any. I feel the scoreboard was bigger than the game was going. We were getting similar looks, we just weren’t making them. So I didn’t think we were in that bad of shape and it showed in the second half.”
The Wolfpack made runs in the second half, but each time they did the Knights had an answer.
Jakob Nelson and Demmons drained a pair of 3’s midway through the third quarter to slice the Knights’ lead to 48-35. Lovett answered with a trey of his own on the Knights’ next possession to stem the tide.
Up by 17 early in the fourth, the Knights saw their advantage shrink to 59-51 with 4:40 to play as the Wolfpack used a 9-0 run to climb back into the game.
The Knights quickly erased the notion of a comeback with two conventional 3-point-plays. Lovett fed Myreon Bennett for a layup and free throw before Kameron Mason got a putback and was fouled on the ensuing possession, sinking the free throw as the lead climbed to 65-51 with just over four minutes to go.
Lovett led the Knights with 21 points, Lawrence added 12 while Matlin Marshall, Mason and Bennett each had 10.
Demmons led Greenbrier with 21 points, Kayshawn Marshall had 14 and Justen Hartfield chipped in with 13.
In other 2A-AAAAA competition, Lakeside and Grovetown met for the second time in two weeks with the Panthers emerging victorious for the second time. The Panthers (10-2, 1-0) beat the Warriors 55-46, led by Sam Powell’s 19 points while B.J. Raymond chipped in with 12 points. The Warriors (7-8, 0-1) were led by Solomon Gause’s 17 points, with 13 from Logan Morris.
In region 3-AA action, the Harlem Bulldogs (5-8, 1-0) were dealt a 100-54 loss by Laney. The Bulldogs were led by Torien Beard’s 19 points, Rayshawn Morris added 13 points and Kanez Dunn had 10.
In Georgia Independent School Association play, Augusta Prep (6-4) had little trouble with Briarwood, winning 60-14. Christian Guthrie led the 11 Cavalier scorers with 16 points.
Out of the South Carolina Independent School Association, the Augusta Christian Lions continued their winning ways with a 79-55 drubbing of Silver Bluff. Ashton Grant had 16 points, Jordan Dingle had 13 points, Calvin Taylor chipped in with 12, while Nick Fortenberry and Madison Williams had 11 and 10 points, respectively.