Tony Davis started the 2009 season in foul trouble.
The Evans High School senior spent significant portions of the Knights' first two basketball games on the bench. Foul trouble for Davis, a high-energy player, would seem to spell trouble for the Knights.
"He's going to have to be our leading scorer," teammate Troy Griffith said.
But not every game, Griffith has proved. The guard, whom everyone calls "Tex" after his former state of Texas, was told by coach Kevin Kenny during the summer he would need to shoot more. With Davis on the bench much of the first two games, Griffith provided the bulk of the Knights' points, averaging 21 points in victories over Lakeside and Butler.
When Griffith sat with foul trouble against rival Greenbrier, it was Davis who scored 28 points to lead the Knights to a victory.
"We're going to have to pick each other up, and we're both going to have to score," Griffith said.
That's the attitude Kenny requires of his two leaders this season. Davis and Griffith are the only two returning Knights with significant game experience. And, at least until the rest of the team adjusts to the flow of varsity competition, the senior pair will continue to carry the Knights.
It's because of these two Kenny thinks the Knights have a shot to compete for the title in Region 3-AAAA.
"People are not really putting our name out there as being one of the top teams, just because we lost so much (after last season)," Kenny said. "But with these two kids, they give you a chance to win every night."
Said Davis: "The people we lost last year, their spots have been filled."
Davis spent much of the preseason with his shoulder taped, after a collision with a teammate during practice sent him to the hospital with muscle spasms. Davis was told the shoulder was only bruised. He was back in time for the Knights' scrimmage with Aquinas. That it took him a couple of games to get going this season had nothing to do with the injury.
"The first two games, it was like I was there but wasn't there," Davis said. "I wasn't playing the part I was supposed to ... being a leader."
Griffith was there to ensure the Knights stayed on track. The 6-foot-3 guard has pulled the trigger on more of his signature 3-pointers this season. He also has worked on pump-faking defenders and moving in for a closer pull-up.
Last season, the Knights had enough weapons that Griffith could fill a role. That's no longer the situation.
"We just don't have as many (scorers)," Griffith said. "The last couple years, with Jonathan Nicely, Anthony Williams, Trey Henderson, we always had other people who could score the ball. I just got to shoot the ball more this year to help the team out."
Davis and Griffith both played their part last week against new county rival Grovetown, combining for 36 points to help Evans to a victory and 3-0 start in Region 3-AAAA.
"They've done everything I've asked them to do," Kenny said. "The way those two go is the way we're going to go."
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