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By Will Phillips
The Marion County Knights will open the 2013-2014 season on the road at Casey County on Dec. 2. The Knights are coming off an 11-17 season, including 7-11 in regional play. Despite their losing record, Marion County does return several players from last year’s squad, including eight seniors. Coach Montrelle Irvin intends to lean on his veterans this year.
“[We are] returning eight seniors. We’re a senior-led team,” Irvin said.
The Casey County Rebels were 14-17 last year, with a 5-11 regional record, but they return three seniors. In addition, they’ve made a head coaching change. Maze Stallworth is now coaching the Rebels, and Irvin thinks that the impact of the change will be significant.
“Last year, they were a more half-court team. This year they’re a little more up and down. It’s gonna be an up-tempo game. I’m looking forward to it,” Irvin said.
These two teams faced off once last season, and Marion County walked away victorious, 66-54 at home, behind 19 points from guard Alex Smith. However, as Irvin said, this is not the same Rebels team as last year’s, so nothing is being taken for granted.
The Knights have also been practicing in anticipation of the new season starting. When asked how the team has been doing, Irvin said they’re coming along and that they’re ahead of schedule.
He added that the team has been working on boxing out and rebounding. Because the Knights aren’t very tall, they have to be opportunistic with good defensive positioning, as well as being in the right place [at the] right time, according to Irvin.
He added that he was interested to see how Marion County would fares in its scrimmage Friday against Harrison County Thorobreds, whose starting lineup ranges from 6’2” to 6’9.
“Their guard is the size of our big men,” Irvin said with a laugh.
He said it would be a test for the Knights to see how they match up against a bigger team.
Harrison County won the opening quarter 23-9, but Marion County won the second quarter, 18-12.
Marion County’s junior varsity players saw action in the third quarter, which Harrison County won, 19-9. When the varsity players returned in the fourth quarter, Marion County outscored Harrison County, 33-25.
Senior Alex Smith led the Knights with 16 points, and senior Latrelle Irvin added 11 points.
Marion County will be in action Tuesday at the Roby Dome for a Knights Madness exhibition at 7 p.m.
The Knights will open the regular season at 8 p.m. Dec. 2 at Casey County.
Editor’s note: Nick Schrager contributed to this story.