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By David Sharp
A determined Schuyler County boys team beat top seeded Knox County to preferred spots on the floor at the beginning of their January 22, 2021 North Shelby Tournament boys’ third place game. The Rams got a pair of three balls from Macon Moncrief, helping seventh seeded Schuyler County (4-12) to a 12-1 lead early in the game.
The Eagles (10-4) started executing the way they are capable of. Knox County went on a 6-0 first quarter run to a 12-9 Ram edge. Tanner Gillaspy came off the bench with a free throw and a rebound hoop with 38 seconds in the first half for a 20-18 Eagle lead. Knox County had a strong second half, powering to a 57-39 win.
Knox County started the second half strong. Rylan Roberts took a charge on the defensive end, then buried a three for a 27-22 Eagle lead with six minutes to play in the third quarter.
The Roberts home run ball started a 9-2 run to a 36-24 lead. Jacob Becker drove the baseline and converted a nice looking layup. Knox County outscored Schuyler County 14-6 in the third quarter for a 36-26 lead entering the final period.
Knox County got to the rim early and often in the fourth quarter. The Rams had little answer for the height and reach of Nathan Shinkle and Jacob Becker in the lane. Becker led all scorers with 15 points. Nathan Shinkle scored 13 points despite sitting out several minutes in foul trouble.
Conner Hayes fired in 12 points. Rylan Roberts scored seven points. Tanner Gillaspy scored five points. Braydon Miller scored three points. Matthew Carlson and Elliott Ogden added two Knox County points each.
Mason Moncrief scored nine Schuyler County points. Trevyn Small scored eight points. Kale Windy, Hayden Dixon and Lincoln Smyser added six points each.
Knox County hosts Putnam County on January 26, 2021. The Eagles have a conference doubleheader scheduled at Schuyler County on Friday, January 29, 2021.
“It’s like anything else, you have to start quick,” Schuyler County coach Kyle Windy said. “They are taller than us, faster than us, they are better basketball players than us, so we had to catch them off guard. We had to out hustle them.”
“For us, we played a pretty good half,” Coach Windy said. “We had a run in the third quarter where we just didn’t score many points. When you go through a six minute stretch where you aren’t scoring against a good team like that.”
“We had to out hustle them, get some breaks and hope they have an off night,” Kyle Windy said. “Our first half was pretty good. But the third quarter we just struggled scoring the basketball.”
“They are a young team, but they are very well coached,” Knox County coach Keith Gudehus said of the Rams. “I felt like it was going to be a battle up until half time. I saw what they did to Atlanta in the first round and what they did with Scotland County in the second round.”
Seventh seeded Schuyler County edged second seeded Atlanta 60-59 in the first round. The Hornets went on to beat South Shelby 74-68 in the consolation championship game. Scotland County played North Shelby for the boys championship.
“It was a close game at halftime,” Keith Gudehus said. “The big focus at halftime was that we had completely lost our defensive discipline. That hurt us Wednesday night as well.”
Fourth seeded North Shelby knocked off the top seeded Eagles by a 65-60 final score in the semifinal round. “Most importantly it was resulting in a lot of fouls. They end up on free throws and kids having to sit on the bench because they can’t be on the floor.”
“We talked a lot at halftime about getting back to the basics on defense,” Keith Gudehus said. “We had two or three fouls in the second half. I told them that is not an anomaly. That is a correlation. You play good defense, and you stay away from fouls. You just don’t allow the other team to score.”
“There should be no answer for our big guys,” Gudehus said. “I saw some great stuff out of both of them tonight. I saw Jacob Becker take a step in attacking the basket. They both played big and played great games. That was what we needed.”