Lakeside High School guard Rosbie Mutcherson could only shake his head when explaining what the Panthers tried to do during their region opener against Evans on Tuesday.
Lakeside wanted to key on Evans forward Tony Davis, one of the more athletic players in the area, and keep him off the boards.
"I think we got worn out toward the end," Mutcherson said after the Panthers' 62-53 loss to the Knights. "If you ever take a break, he'll get a rebound on you."
Davis finished with 17 points, and Evans earned its first win in Region 3-AAAA.
The Knights were out for a measure of revenge. In the regular-season finale for both teams last season, Lakeside pulled off a dramatic win on the Knights' home court that set off a raucous celebration.
"It was disappointing for the fans, because last year they beat us on our floor on Senior Night," Evans forward Anthony Williams said. "They really returned back about all their starters. We knew what they were pretty much coming with."
Lakeside coach Ryan Morningstar said he wanted his team to force Evans into its halfcourt offense and limit the Knights' transition points.
But the Panthers were without guard C.J. Marshall, who was forced to sit out a game after an argument with an official during a game against Greenbrier on Nov. 21.
A man down, the Panthers were limited with foul trouble. And the Knights responded by pushing the tempo.
"I remember there was a point where we kept going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth," Mutcherson said. "We knew we couldn't get into that with Evans."
The Knights improved to 4-0 with the win, before having played at Harlem on Friday. Coach Kevin Kenny's team was coming off close wins against Strom Thurmond and Aiken over Thanksgiving weekend.
But the Knights looked as if they avoided the turkey hangover.
Lakeside grabbed its last lead, 37-35, on an A.J. Howard layup late in the third quarter, but never seriously threatened after that. Evans led by four when the quarter was over and opened its margin further in the fourth quarter as the Panthers tired.
"I don't think we've put a complete game together yet," Kenny said. "We're 4-0, which we're more than happy about that. But we've played well in spurts."
Williams said he thought the Knights could do a better job against the zone defense. He didn't believe Evans shot the ball as well as it could.
"We need to be able to score against a zone more," Williams said. "We have shooters on our team that got to be able to knock it down every time."
Davis was there to gobble up many of the Knights' misses.
The 6-foot-4 junior was all over the glass, including his last basket. He made a tip-in that gave the Knights a 52-44 lead with 3:10 left.
"We thought if we blocked Tony out, we'd have a pretty good chance of winning," Mutcherson said. "He's a reason they win a lot of their games."
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