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By David Sharp
Clark County (2-2) threatened to run away and hide in the first quarter of their Third Annual Tri-Rivers Classic Tournament at Schuyler County. The Indians reeled off a 12-2 run after Knox County (3-0) scored the first two points of the game.
Knox County caused turnovers defensively during a decisive 19-4 third quarter run. The Eagles won the boys championship with a 49-37 victory. Clark County held a 12-4 lead after one quarter of basketball.
The Eagles outscored Clark County 11-8 in the second quarter. The Indians led 20-15 at the half. Knox County converted transition baskets during their third quarter run. The Eagles used their height advantage on both ends of the court.
Tournament MVP Jacob Becker led Knox County with 13 points. The Eagles got to the rim more often in the second half. The Eagles outscored Clark County 21-8 in the third quarter for a 36-28 lead.
Braydon Miller gave Knox County a 41-32 edge with a bucket at the 4:24 mark of the fourth quarter. Sam Wheeler tossed in a Clark County free throw for a 41-33 score with 3:13 remaining.
Knox County sealed the outcome with a 6-7 free throw shooting performance in the fourth quarter. Knox County held a 13-11 field goal advantage. Both teams made three home run balls.
Clark County had a good night at the free throw line, going 6-10 in an early season game. Knox County was 14-20 overall from the charity stripe.
“We were pretty good defensively in the first half,” Clark County coach Adan Rung said. “We were talking. We were communicating really well. Our defense definitely led and got us into our offense.”
“I thought we did a good job of being patient offensively,” Coach Rung said. “We moved the ball and found some gaps. We did a good job of getting offensive rebounds. We played pretty sound in the first half.”
“I thought they raised their intensity level a little bit,” Coach Rung said when asked what changed in the second half. “You can say they are young, but they have got experience too.”
“It’s not their first go around,” Adam Rung said of now four year starters Jacob Becker, Conner Hayes and Colt Morrow. “We are playing five sophomores who haven’t played before. We have two seniors and one senior (Aaron Day) that is out (for basketball) the first time since he was a freshman.”
“Give Knox County all the credit. Coach (Keith) Gudehus made some adjustments. He got them to compete a little bit more,” Adam Rung said. “Their intensity level kind of took us out of our offense.”
“We had some defensive lapses and breakdowns,” Rung said. “I don’t know if we got tired or what. I think they deserve a lot of credit. It’s something we have to learn from and grow.”
Clark County and Knox County have a regular season non-conference match at Knox County on Monday, December 7, 2020. The Eagle and Indian JV and Varsity Boys will play.
Sam Wheeler led all scorers with 14 Clark County points. Carter Briscoe scored eight Indian points. Aaron Day scored seven points. Gabe Hunziker put in four points. Gage Winters and Drayson Daniel scored two points each.
Jacob Becker led Knox County with 13 points. Becker was 7-8 from the free throw line. Elliott Ogden and Blake Parrish scored eight points each. Conner Hayes fired in seven points.
Conner Hayes was named to the all-tournament team along with Jacob Becker. Coltin Morrow scored five KCHS points. Branson Miller and Nelson Shinkle scored three points each. Braydon Miller scored two Knox County points.
“The second half was a little more indicative of how we played in our first two games,” Knox County coach Keith Gudehus said. “I give a lot of credit to Clark County. Their man to man defense was really frustrating us.”
“We made a couple of minor adjustments with our posts,” Coach Gudehus said. “I think that helped us out a lot. It opened things up for us, so we were getting some better looks.”
“Once we figured that out. Our hope is that we can go nine or ten deep every game is going to put a lot of physical pressure on teams we are playing,” Keith Gudehus said. “That happened in the second half tonight I think.”
“This was my conference when I was playing,” Keith Gudehus said of the significance of winning a tournament made up of former conference partners. “It’s neat to see all these teams gather together. I think it was a fantastic idea to put this tournament together.”
“I’m really proud of our kids. The way they played and battled despite being down 14 points at one time,” Keith Gudehus said. “They fought back and ended up winning going away. It was fun to coach and even more fun to watch.”