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Knights Stumble In 3rd Quarter; Fall to Taylor (1/21/2017)
Marion County senior Isaac Lanham (22) scores two of his 12 points over Taylor County's Austin Ellis.
In a packed and raucous Roby Dome on Friday night, the Marion County Knights and Taylor County Cardinals went head-to-head in a 20th District contest to determine -- for now -- second place in the district and who would have the inside track at a chance to knock Adair County out of first place. After an impressive finish to take the lead at the end of the second quarter, the Knights struggled in the third as Taylor County went on a 16-0 run to take control of the game and go on to a 64-53 win.
With the crowd involved from the opening tip, both teams appeared to be a little ragged in the first quarter as the Cards took a 9-8 lead to start the second period. Taylor County senior Dylan Gaines picked up his second foul early in the frame, but following his departure the Cards slowly built a lead that grew to seven points, 22-15, on an Austin Ellis three-pointer with 3:45 left in the half. An ankle injury to one of the three-man officiating crew brought an extended official time-out as he was assisted off the floor and the game continued with just two referees. The Knights used the break to their advantage and closed out the half on a 12-2 run capped by a three-pointer from senior Isaac Lanham and went into halftime with a 27-24 lead.
The third quarter got off to a promising start for the Knights as Gaines picked up his third foul just 14 seconds into the period, then stretched the lead to five points on a Lez Means drive and score. But Taylor County responded with a 16-0 run, led by six points from sophomore reserve Grant McQueary. Marion County finally put an end to the run when Lamarcus Bell scored on a pass from Jaren Epps, but a traditional three-point play from senior Austin Lain pushed the cards' lead to 12 points, 46-34.
(Left) Lez Means (3) looks for an opening against the Taylor County defense. (Right) Travis Wiser (31) secures one of his seven rebounds.
The Knights got their crowd back into the game at the start of the fourth quarter as Luke Thomas scored on a pull-up jumper, Means drained a three-pointer, and Lanham picked up a basket on an offensive rebound to pull within five points, 48-43. But once again, Marion County's offense sputtered as Taylor County went on a 10-0 run to push their advantage back to 15 points with just over a minute left in the game. The Knights could not mount a last-minute come-back and the Cards claimed the 11-point win.
Lanham finished the game with 12 points and 19 boards, tying his career high in rebounds and giving him his 14th career double-double. Means led the Knights in scoring with 14 points and Bell came off the bench to finish with 12 points. Sophomore Travis Wiser only managed 4 points but pulled down seven rebounds. You can read more about this game by clicking on the score in the right-hand column, or by clicking here.
The loss eliminated the Knights' chances for a #1 seed in the upcoming District Tournament, but can still claim the #2 seed with some help from Adair County. Marion County has one more game left with Taylor County on February 3rd, which is now a must-win, and could vault the Knights back into second place should Adair County knock off the Cards when the two teams meet in Columbia on January 24. Adair County already knocked off Taylor County on the Cards' home court back on December 9.
The Knights will have almost a full week to recover from Friday's loss before Nelson County comes to the Roby Dome on Thursday for a girl/boy double-header.
Freshmen Take First Loss; JV and Freshmen Knights Sweep Thomas Nelson -- The Freshmen Knights suffered their first loss of the season on Wednesday when Nelson County's Brian Fulkerson made a desperation three-pointer as time expired in overtime, 56-55. Marion County's freshmen squad bounced back the next night by knocking off Thomas Nelson, 63-25, to improve to 12-1 on the season. The JV Knights also picked up a win over the JV Generals on Thursday, 46-38, to improve their record to 9-2.
Cards Visit Roby Dome Tonight (1/20/2017)
Taylor County's Ezra Oliver is averaging 16.3 points per game while converting 50.0% of his 3Pt-FG attempts.
After taking a 76-53 loss to Adair County on Tuesday, the Marion County Knights are looking to bounce back in another 20th District match-up -- this time against the Taylor County Cardinals. The Knights (10-9) are 2-2 in district play while the Cards (11-6) have a district record of 1-1, and both teams are chasing district front-runner Adair County (18-1, 4-0). For either team to catch the Indians, a win tonight is a must-have.
After struggling through a tough holiday season tournament, the Cards are on a four-game winning streak for first-year head coach Maze Stallworth. Stallworth, who was a standout high school player at John Hardin before playing his college career at Morehead State, coached for three seasons at Casey County before taking over the Taylor County program this season from the departed Richard Gatewood.
The Cards are led by a solid trio of experienced players. Seniors Ezra Oliver and Dylan Gaines both started several games for Taylor County last season, and sophomore TreVon Smith is in his third year of varsity play. Smith leads the team in scoring at 19.3 PPG and has a rebounding average of 5.2. Gaines is the Cards' leading rebounder at 6.0 while also averaging 13.9 points. Oliver averages 16.3 points and 5.8 boards. Oliver is also averaging a remarkable 50.0% shooting from the three-point line -- one of the reasons Taylor County shoots a deadly 43.6% as a team from behind the arc. For Marion County to be successful tonight they will need to contain the Cards' three-point shooters while also limiting their second-chance points off the glass.
Tip-off for tonight's contest is set for 7:30 PM, following a Varsity girls game at 6:00 PM.
Indians Overpower Knights, Keep Hold On 1st Place (1/18/2017)
Marion County sophomore Trevor Douglas launches a long three-pointer against Adair County on Tuesday. Douglas shot 3-8 from behind the arc and finished with 11 points.
The Adair County Indians looked like the top team in the Fifth Region Tuesday night, overpowering the Marion County Knights 76-53 at the Roby Dome. The win improved the Indians to 4-0 in 20th District games -- 18-1 overall -- and put them in the driver's seat for the #1 seed in the District Tournament in February. The Knights fell to 10-9 overall and 2-2 in district play.
Adair County standout guard Kel Stotts went through and over the Marion County defense in the first half, scoring 18 of his 20 points in the first half as the Indians slowly but steadily built a 40-23 lead at the end of the second quarter. Marion County struggled to handle Adair County's trapping half-court defense, committing 12 turnovers before halftime and only converting 6 of 24 three-point shots for the game. The Indians also dominated the home team on the boards, claiming 35 rebounds for the game to just 27 for Marion County. Adair County junior Corey Melton also gave the Knights' defense fits, draining five three-point field goals on his way to a game-high 27 points.
In the second half Adair County switched gears from its full-speed attack of the first half to a methodical, patient offense reminiscent of North Carolina's dreaded four-corners strategy of the early 1980's, but just as effective. Marion County finally managed to find some rhythm on the offensive end, but the Indians drained precious time off the clock on every possession while still maintaining their double-digit lead throughout the second half.
(Left) Isaac Lanham takes a shot inside the Adair County defense. (Right) Lamarcus Bell scans the floor in the first half.
Marion County's Trevor Douglas came off the bench to shoot 3-8 from the three-point line and lead the Knights in scoring with 11 points. Lez Means was the only other Knight with double-figure scoring with 10 points. Isaac Lanham scored nine points to go with nine rebounds. You can read more about this game by clicking on the score in the right-hand column, or by clicking here.
The Knights return to action Friday with another chance to maintain their hold on second place in the 20th District when the Taylor County Cardinals come to the Roby Dome for a girl/boy double-header. The girls varsity game is scheduled to begin at 6:00 PM, followed by the boys game at 7:30 PM.
Freshmen-JV Schedule Change for Wednesday -- There has been a schedule change for the Freshmen and JV game scheduled for tonight at Nelson County. The JV contest has been cancelled, while the Freshmen match-up has been moved to a 6:00 PM start.
Watch this space for more news about upcoming events and game results!
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