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The Marion County boys’ basketball team (8-22) proved they could compete with two out of three of their district opponents. Unfortunately for them, they drew the team that had match up problems with for their first round game in the 20th District tournament on Wednesday night of last week.
Adair County gave the Knights problems all season, winning by nearly 20 points in both regular season match ups.
Wednesday's game started in a better fashion for the Knights but ended with the same result as the Knights fell 69-36 to the hot shooting Indians.
"For the most part, the first quarter was good," Knights Head Coach Tim Peterson said. "It was a good pace for us in the first quarter. Then (Corey) Helm got hot on us. He hit a couple of threes and he got rolling."
The Knights hung on through the first quarter, employing a point four offensive scheme that gave ball-handling responsibilities to senior Jason Buckman. Buckman drew one of Adair County's big men, standout Darren Ballou for the majority of the time, out of the paint to allow senior D.J. Hall to establish a post presence.
The plan helped the Knights hang on through one quarter, something they weren't able to do at home against Adair County.
The second quarter would spell doom for the Knights. As Peterson said, Helm got hot from outside. He wasn't the only one as the Indians took turns bombing from downtown. The Indians only committed two turnovers compared to the Knights nine. Adair County shot a staggering 12-15 from the floor in the second quarter.
"I'm just sitting there thinking it won't happen tonight. If we were scoring on the other end it would be all right. We never got anything consistent back-to-back. They were on the game," Peterson said. "They've lost one time at home in four years. They've won district three years in a row. They're a really good ball club. They executed a lot better than we did. I credit them. We didn't get the job done."
After the smoke cleared and the halftime horn sounded, the Knights found themselves down 39-14. Adair outscored them 28-6 in the second quarter.
The Knights would never recover, falling 69-36 and ending a season of near misses.
"I really enjoyed coaching this year. I thought we were really competitive for 90 percent of our games," Peterson said. "Four or five came down to the last possession. The guys played hard and showed up at practice. The guys are consistent. Our morale was good. We played hard. The kids stuck with it. They stood the test of time. They've got some great qualities about them."
The Knights lose five seniors including Chris Southall, D.J. Hall, Jermaine Porter, Tyler Thompson and Jason Buckman. They return a core of players who logged a lot of minutes this season including Chuck Elder, Josh Reed and Austin Spalding.
Marion 6 8 9 13 - 36
Adair 11 28 11 19 - 69
Marion County - Chris Southall 16, D.J. Hall 8, Tyler Thompson 6, Chuck Elder 2, Jermaine Porter 2, Austin Spalding 2