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By David Sharp
Knox County and Fayette played a relatively even first half in their January 13, 2023 conference match at Knox County. The Falcons (4-8, 0-4) erased a 23-18 Knox County lead, scoring the final five first half points for a 23 all draw after 16 minutes of basketball.
Fayette defended the lane well in the third quarter. Knox County missed interior shots saw Fayette take a 39-30 lead with 2:09 remaining in the third period. Kellen Parrish scored two times for a 39-34 Falcon lead entering the fourth quarter. The Eagles closed on a 14-8 run for a 48-47 win.
Collin Hayes fueled the fourth quarter rally with a three ball and a 41-37 Fayette edge with 6:42 to play in the game. Rylan Roberts drove the lane for a field goal and a 43-41 deficit with 4:19 remaining in regulation time.
Keaton Strange drove the lane for a 44-43 Eagle lead with 2:01 showing on the clock. Malakai Graves tied the game at 44 with a free throw at the 1:40 mark of period four.
Fayette took their turn missing inside scoring chances in the fourth quarter. Kellen Parrish hit a clutch home run ball for a 47-44 lead with 1:12 to play in the game. Fayette tied the game again at 47 all with 58 seconds to go.
Malakai Graves sank another Falcon free throw. Chase Allen- Jackman rebounded the second miss and scored the game tying bucket.
Knox County got the ball back and held until a timeout at the 19 second mark. Rylan Roberts was fouled driving the lane. Roberts hit the first free throw for a 48-47 lead with 2.2 seconds remaining.
The second free throw missed. Knox County set an effective defense with three men across the court near the Fayette side of the center circle. Rylan Roberts backed off the line, inducing a traveling violation as the final buzzer sounded.
Both sides made plays at the end of a very entertaining game. “I can’t say we had Rylan (Roberts) up there intentionally to get that traveling call,” Knox County coach Nathan Miller said.
“We didn’t want to put ourselves in a position to have any kind of foul called on us,” Coach Miller said of the game ending play. “Rylan’s free throw was huge at the end of the game. There are a lot of plays that led up to that.”
“We intentionally play to rally in the fourth quarter. We utilize what we do defensively to benefit us in the closing moments,” Nathan Miller said. “We did that. We created some extra opportunities for us.”
“We were fortunate enough to speed them up and create some missed shot opportunities,” Nathan Miller said. “The first half, they didn’t miss. They played a heckuva game.”
“We were fortunate enough to hold a great athlete (Chase Allen- Jackman) to seven points. “He showed it. He had a two minute stretch where he just took over the third quarter. That was a big momentum swing. That was when they got that nine point lead.”
“They had some players that made key plays. It was a battle. That was one of the best games I have seen that ball club play. They gave us a run for our money.”
Malakai Graves scored 16 Fayette points. Kaleb Friebe had a good shooting night, tossing in 14 points. Chase Allen-Jackman was next in line with seven Falcon points.
Kellen Parrish scored a game high 18 Knox County points. Rylan Roberts and Colin Hayes were in double figures with ten points each. Keaton Strange put in eight points. Austin Jansen added two Eagle points.