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Chris Southall's career best 27 points weren't enough to will the Marion County Knights to victory over the Campbellsville Eagles on Friday night in Campbellsville.
The Eagles scored 23 of their 33 second-half points from the free throw line in a slugfest at Paul J. Coop Gym. The Knights finished 7 for 21 at the free throw line, including four critical misses in the final minute and a half.
Only trailing 40-39 after three quarters, the Knights fell 62-47.
Despite a six game losing streak, Head Coach Tim Peterson was positive about some aspects of the game.
"We played our best defense of the year as far as physicality," Peterson said.
Peterson said the Knights wanted to keep the Eagles out of the paint more and did a good job of being physical with them.
Foul trouble and foul shooting were the biggest problems for the Knights as the game wore on.
Three players (D.J. Hall, Derek Cissell, Josh Reed) fouled out, while three more (Chuck Elder, Chris Southall, Austin Spalding) accumulated four fouls. Hall, a cornerstone of the Knights interior defense, fouled out with 6:16 left in the fourth quarter. The Knights were down 47-39 at that point and would never recover.
While the Knights continuously sent the Eagles to the line, on the other end they were clanking their way to 33 percent accuracy from the free throw line for the game.
Only Southall (4-7) and Elder (1-2) shot better than 50 percent from the line.
The Knights were even colder from the three-point line, going 4-20 for 20 percent on the game.
Campbellsville jumped out of the gate with an 8-2 lead but the Knights would work their way back in the game to make it 12-12 off of a three by Hall with 1:53 to go in the first. It was the first and only tie of the game. Campbellsville never trailed.
A buzzer beater three by Campbellsville would put the Eagles up 15-12 to end the quarter.
Campbellsville would build the lead back up to seven points (20-13) with 5:47 to go before the half but the acrobatics of Southall brought the Knights roaring back to within two (22-20) with 4:24 left.
The momentum would shift when Hall picked up two quick fouls with 4:12 to go in the quarter. In the meantime, Campbellsville hit seven free throws over the next three-and-a-half minutes to go up 27-20. During that time period, Elder picked up his third foul and Southall picked up his second.
Two quick turnovers by Marion County led to another basket, putting the Eagles up 29-20 going into the locker room. Southall had 10 points to finish the first half.
The third quarter was a seesaw battle, with the Knights pulling within four on three different occasions (30-26, 32-28, 34-30).
At that juncture, Reed picked up his fourth foul. Hall also had four fouls with 2:49 to go in the third.
The Eagles boosted the lead to 10 (40-30) and looked to have the Knights on the ropes.
The Knights battled back with contributions by Spalding, Elder and Southall to make it 40-39 to end the quarter.
With momentum the Knights looked to get their first lead of the game in the fourth quarter. However, their previous burst appeared to be all the Knights had left as Campbellsville reeled off 11 straight points, six from the foul line, to gain a 50-39 lead.
With Hall on the bench and the fouls piling up, the Knights were no match for the Eagles on the boards or at the line. Marion County never got closer than nine points. The Eagles cruised to a 62-47 win.
Southall was the only Knight to score in double figures with 27.
Matthew Davis led the Eagles with 15, nine of which came in the fourth quarter off free throws. Thomas Downs had 13 and Bryton Taylor finished with 10.
The Knights are currently on a six game skid that dates back to December 29. In that time period, the average margin of defeat is 16 points per game. The Knights are winless in 2009.
Marion 12 8 19 8 - 47 Campbellsville 15 14 11 22 - 62
Marion County (4-13) - Chris Southall 27, Austin Spalding 7, Chuck Elder 5, D.J. Hall 5, Derek Cissell 2, Tyler Thompson 1
Campbellsville (11-6) - Matthew Davis 15, Thomas Downs 13, Bryton Taylor 10, Zach Altman 8, Michael McCubbin 6, Ben Janes 4, Jordan Percell 4, Chris Smith 2
Boyle County 56, Marion County 41
Boyle County (4-12) proved to be too physical for the Knights as the Rebels won the rebounding battle 44-29 last Tuesday night in Boyle County.
The Rebels were one of three remaining teams left on the Knights schedule with a below .500 record. Elizabethtown (6-10) and Washington County (2-12) are the only teams left of that nature in the next 10 games.
Southall led the way with 15 points. No other Knight scored in double figures.
Marion 11 12 11 7 - 41
Boyle 19 10 15 12 - 56
Marion County - Chris Southall 15, Austin Spalding 8, Chuck Elder 6, Derek Cissell 4, D.J. Hall 3, Josh Reed 3, Deshawn Douglas 2