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The Marion County Knights varsity boys basketball team hosted the John Hardin Bulldogs on Tuesday of last week at the Roby Dome. The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead and never looked back as John Hardin defeated Marion County by a final score of 75-52. Freshman Alex Smith scored a game high 22 points. Smith’s 22-point outburst marked the first time that a freshman Knight had scored 20 or more points since March 8, 2005, when Mitchell Lancaster scored 20 points against John Hardin in a regional tournament game.
As the first quarter began the Bulldogs immediately showed why they have the best record in the fifth region. John Hardin jumped out to a quick lead by using their overpowering size and athletic ability. Only two Knights were able to tally points in the first period with Smith scoring five and senior Deshawn Douglas adding two. The Bulldogs were able to score 17 points in the frame and held a 10-point lead at the end of the quarter with a score of 17-7.
The second quarter was one of the bright spots for the Knights during this game. Marion County was able to outscore John Hardin 15-14 over the eight-minute frame. The Knights led a balanced attack in this period with five different players scoring led by Smith once again who put in two three point goals to have six points in the frame. Despite outscoring the Bulldogs, the Knights still headed to the locker room down 11 points at the half with a score of 33-22.
Coming out of the halftime break the Bulldogs regained their drive and began to pull away from the home team and put the game out of reach. The Knights managed a respectable 13 points in the quarter, but allowed the Bulldogs to put up 25. Three different Bulldog starters each scored at least six points to help John Hardin hold a 23 point lead at the end of the frame with a score of 58-35.
In the final quarter, the Knights played evenly with the Bulldogs as each team scored 17 points. Smith once again led the way for the Knights as he put in his final eight points on the night during the fourth period. The Knights connected on 10 free throws, but were not able to trim the deficit from the third quarter margin. The Bulldogs went on to defeat the Knights by a final score of 75-52.
“As a coaching staff, you see how you match up with a top team in your region,” Head Coach Anthony Epps said. “John Hardin’s great size and athletic ability were way too much for us to overcome, but it was a great experience for our guys to see how far we have to go.”
John Hardin 19 14 25 17 - 75
Marion County 7 15 13 17 - 52
John Hardin (19-2): Jeff Richard 15, Jeremy Harness 13, Blake Bonner 10, Malcolm Foster 10, Brandon Price 6, Landon Savoy 6, Hunter Holloway 5, Eli Mitchell 3, Khalil Rasheed 3, Patrick Crowe 2, A.J. Smith 2
Marion County (13-9): Alex Smith 22, Deshawn Douglas 9, John Southall 8, Vincent Collins 4, Jared Vaughn 3, Josh Brockman 2, Patrick Gribbins 2, Clay Lanham 2
In JV action...
The Marion County Knights junior varsity boys basketball team played the first game of the night against the John Hardin Bulldogs. Marion County never led in the game and John Hardin went on to win the game by a final score of 44-36. Freshman Alex Smith led the JV Knights with 19 points, a game high.
John Hardin 14 6 15 9 - 44
Marion County 10 7 9 10 - 36
John Hardin: Eli Mitchell 17, Patrick Anderson 13, Khalil Rasheed 6, Johan Bouleware 4, Nate Pettigrew 2, Elijah Smith 2
Marion County: Alex Smith 19, Vincent Collins 9, Satchel Tatum 3, Bobby Jaglowicz 2, Luke Price 2, Brandon Sandusky 1