There are two words to describe the defensive dominance delivered by the Evans High School boys basketball team last weekend in its game at Lakeside High School.
Tenacious and terrific.
From the Panthers' point of view, tormenting and tortuous could apply.
You might say the Knights performed coach Kevin Kenny's game plan to a "T," limiting Lakeside to one basket from the field in the second half to trounce the Panthers 47-31 Saturday night.
"Our defensive effort has been very good," Kenny said after his team employed a tight man-to-man defense to erase a 23-20 halftime deficit. "We've played great defense all season. Our problem is that we've gone through some offensive droughts."
In the girls game, Lakeside broke things open by outscoring Evans 13-1 in the second quarter. The Lady Panthers poured in 19 more points in the third on the way to a 53-28 win. Junior guard Toya Coard paced Lakeside with 23 points, and Christy Steflik scored 10 to lead Evans.
The Panthers appeared poised to make it a home sweep in the nightcap. Lakeside went on a 15-0 run to take a 15-4 lead in the second quarter.
Evans was on one of its scoring droughts, and finished the first half 6 for 25 from the field.
The Knights did play defense, notching six blocked shots in the first half. Kendrick Davis swatted three attempts, Teddy Ingram had two rejections, and John Harris added another.
Harris and Fernando Mickens each hit a 3-point shot to help Evans trim the Lakeside lead to three at the half.
"We tell the kids all the time that it's a 32-minute game. The game's not won in the first quarter," Kenny said. "What we told them at halftime was to be more aggressive."
The Knights listened to their instructions and threw down a defensive gauntlet to thwart the Panthers after the break.
Lakeside had possession to open the second half, but when the Panthers put the ball in play, Mickens and Ingram immediately forced a turnover to set the tone for the rest of the game.
"To jump on the trap like that on the very first possession...I'm not saying it was a turning point, but that brought our intensity level up for the second half," Kenny said.
Lakeside was only 1 of 23 from the field in the second half.
Harris hit a 3-point shot to tie the game at 23, and eventually finished with a game-high 19 points. Mickens, who is just now recovering from injuries incurred during football season, contributed strong play at point guard.
"He's a great defensive player and he's very, very quick," Kenny said of Mickens. "He hustles and gets a lot of loose balls."
The Knights get back into Region 4-AAAAA action this Saturday with a road game at Jonesboro High School.
"We've got 10 more region games, and with some of the key games near the end of the regular season at home, the schedule is pretty favorable for us," Kenny said.
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