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By David Sharp
Knox County (5-3) overcame a stiff challenge from a physical Scotland County boys team, advancing to the 51st Annual Highland Tournament boys consolation championship game with a 67-58 win over conference rival Scotland County.
The Tigers (4-5) took a 15-14 lead after the first quarter. Knox County came back with a 15-11 second quarter for a 30-26 halftime lead. Knox County held on to their four point lead after an even third quarter.
Scotland County had a good night at the free throw line, sinking 8 of 11 tries from the charity stripe. Knox County had a tougher time from the line, scoring on only eight of 25 attempts.
The Eagles made free throws when they had to, sinking 8-9 fourth quarter free throws. Knox County countered six made Scotland County three pointers with a 20-16 advantage from the field.
Their eight made free throws were the difference in a 19-14 fourth quarter to a 67-58 win. “We talked to them about being aggressive,” Knox County acting head coach Noah Talton said. “We don’t need to back down from anybody. This was definitely a building block to go up against somebody with height inside.”
“One of the things I definitely want to do is come out and compete every night,” Noah Talton said. “We established ourselves in the conference a little bit.”
“They have gotten a lot better since last year,” Scotland County coach Jeremy Austin said. “You have to give them credit. They are a hard working group. Everybody should be pretty proud of them over there.”
“I didn’t see a lot of mental lapses on the Red and Black side,” Jeremy Austin said. “I saw a few on the Blue and White side. They capitalized on every one of them. We gave up a couple of easy baskets in the first half.”
“We had some mental mistakes and that cost us,” Jeremy Austin said. “You want to look at the big picture. When you can think of four plays were we did something dumb or lazy, That’s a problem.”
“Overall our boys played hard. We have gotten a lot better over Christmas. I thought this was a great team to come back out,” Coach Austin said. “Our boys always play hard against them. I thought it was a competitive ball game. I’m proud of how our boys played.”
“They competed well and gave ourselves a good shot to win against a very good team.”
Carson Harrison led all scorers with 20 Scotland County points. Corbyn Spurgeon scored 13 Tiger points. Owen Triplett was the third Scotland County player in double figures with 12 points. Trayton Buckallew tallied seven points.
Conner Hayes led four Eagles in double figures with 18 points. Rylan Roberts put in 13 points. Nelson Shinkle scored 12 KCHS points. Jacob Becker scored ten points. Braydon Miller put in six points. Blake Parrish and Branson Miller scored three points each. Elliott Ogden added two points to the winning total.