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Knights end streak, pick up two wins

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By Jesse Osbourne

Though a burden to most, the ice storm that ravaged the state last week seemingly helped the Marion County High School boys basketball team.

An eight game losing streak came to a halt and the Knights picked up their first win of 2009 last week on the road.

The Knights ended a losing streak that dated back to late December on Thursday night against Christian Academy of Louisville (CAL) (11-11). The Knights (6-16) dropped a close game to Taylor County (15-6) the next night but picked up another win on Saturday against Hancock County (7-15).

"The break came at a good time," Head Coach Tim Peterson said. "All of it worked out pretty good for us. We came back with a better attitude. We've found a pretty good groove and we've got better chemistry."

Peterson thinks his team is peaking at the right time, as they have done historically under his reign.

"In February, my teams usually play better than earlier in the season," he said.

Peterson said he has introduced more sets to get Chris Southall more involved. Which has helped the team.

"He's working hard to come off picks better. He's emerged as a prolific scorer in region, shooting as well as anybody," Peterson said.

Another player who is improving is Austin Spalding, who is coming around as a point guard, he said.

"(Against Hancock County) he had 10 assists and one turnover. Things are coming together," Peterson said. "If we can keep playing hard we can live with it no matter what happens," he said.

While Southall is emerging as a major offensive threat, Josh Reed has become a defensive stopper.

"He's stepped it up lately," Peterson said. "We asked more of him defensively and he found his niche. He can be a stopper. We've been putting him on the team's best players and asking him to shut down best player with no help."

In two games, Reed has put the clamps on Taylor County's star Chase Cox. Other teams are falling to the wrath of Reed's defense as well.

Peterson said against Hancock County, Reed rattled their best player to the point that their coach took him out of the game. Peterson said Reed's defense also led to easy baskets early on.

"It makes other guys play harder as well," Peterson said.

Marion County 64, Hancock County 54

"We started out really good going up 11-0 to start the game," Peterson said. "We were up 31-11 in second quarter. We shot well and played good defense. Chris (Southall) was hot. We were really clicking."

Southall finished the game with another career high, picking up 28 points while hitting five three pointers.

Southall wasn't the only player taking care of business. Chuck Elder finished with 17 points and Spalding had 10 assists. Peterson also said there was an unsung hero during the Knights' win.

"Our role players came in and filled all the holes. We didn't lose anything when they were in there," he said.

He said that Tyler Thompson contributed six points in the second quarter while Jason Buckman knocked down all six of his free throws. He added that Jermaine Porter had a good defensive performance.

Marion     18 14  15  17 - 64

Hancock    7  12  21  14 - 54

Marion County - Chris Southall 28, Chuck Elder 17, Jason Buckman 6, Tyler Thompson 6, Austin Spalding 3, D.J. Hall 2, Josh Reed 2

Taylor County 53, Marion County 43

The Knights fell to arch rival Taylor County in another physical defensive struggle at the Roby Dome on Friday night.

"We played great defensively. We challenged every shot and did a better job rebounding," Peterson said. "They're a good defensive team too and we didn't handle some of the pressure very well. We rushed some in the first half, especially Chris (Southall)."

Chase Cox scored 21 overall and helped the Cards pull away at the end of the third quarter with a seven-point spurt to end the quarter.

Chuck Elder finished with 12 points. Southall finished with 11.

Taylor    6  11  14  22 - 53

Marion     8  4  11  20 - 43

Marion County - Chuck Elder 12, Chris Southall 11, D.J. Hall 7, Austin Spalding 7, Jermaine Porter 4, Jason Buckman 2.

Marion County 74, Christian Academy - Louisville 57

Several Knights stepped up last Thursday night to help the Knights end their eight game losing streak on the road.

Chuck Elder collected his first double-double of the season with 16 points and 14 rebounds. D.J. Hall collected a double-double as well with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Chris Southall added 17 points for the hot shooting Knights.

"Chris (Southall) and Chuckie (Elder) the shot lights out," Peterson said. "D.J. (Hall) played well, dominated the glass on both ends. When he does that it makes life easier for our guards. We shot and defended well. We put Josh (Reed) on their best player, which frustrated him and carried over to rest of their team."

CAL had beaten Waggener by 21 points earlier in the season. Waggener had beaten the Knights by 12 at the Roby Dome early on in the season.

Marion    17  15  15  27 - 74    

CAL        13  12  10  22 - 57

Marion County - D.J. Hall 24, Chris Southall 17, Chuck Elder 16, Austin Spalding 6, Josh Reed 4, Jason Buckman 3, Deshawn Douglas 2, Derek Cissell 2