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North Hardin coach Ron Bevars has watched his teams accomplish a number of things throughout the years, but he witnessed another first Friday night.
The Trojans shut out the Fort Knox Eagles in the first quarter, racing out to a 29-0 lead on their way to a 77-44 rout in the 17th District opener for both teams at Ron Bevars Gymnasium.
“We shut out East Hardin back in the 80s,” Bevars said. “I think it was 16-0. But I don’t ever remember shutting someone out in the first quarter. We came out with a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm. We shared the basketball. We put on a clinic on how to share the basketball.”
North Hardin (2-0 overall, 1-0 in district) made 13 of its first 26 shots and dominated the glass in the first quarter, holding a 21-5 edge. Senior center Tyler Landry and junior forward Khalil Rasheed fueled the start combining to score the first 14 points, and then North Hardin guards – seniors Nick Lewis, Ruben Gosa and Scotty Sterusky and sophomore Tyronn King – got involved converting Fort Knox turnovers into layups.
Outside of Gosa’s 15-footer and three free throws, all of North Hardin’s points came in the paint either on layups or putbacks. North Hardin finished with 29 offensive rebounds and had 28 second-chance points compared to Fort Knox’s 10. The Trojans also had several assists during the spurt highlighted by a no-look pass from King and a behind-the-back offering by Gosa.
“We were sharing the ball and we played with a lot of intensity,” said Gosa, who scored 12 points despite battling through flu-like symptoms. “We played together. That was the most important thing.”
Meanwhile, Fort Knox (0-3, 0-1) missed its first 14 shots and turned the ball over 10 times before senior Derek Miranda made a free throw with 7:04 left in the second quarter. Sophomore Michael Armstead hit the Eagles first field goal nearly 10 minutes into the game.
“We tried to run and jump with them,” Fort Knox coach Kip Rambo said. “We settled it down and we played a solid three quarters. It was an awakening the last three quarters. We did a good job of running our offense and we switched from our zone (defense) to our man-to-man (defense). It was mostly us (the first quarter).”
Although they got off to a shaky start, the Eagles outscored the Trojans in the second and third quarters. They had the North Hardin lead down to 20 with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter after Armstead drained a 3-pointer from the left corner.
The Trojans struggled to generate much offense after the huge initial burst. They missed 26-of-34 shots in the second and third quarters. Bevars attributed the lack of offense to his team’s inexperience.
“We lost our focus,” Bevars said. “We came out the second quarter and they were all smiling. We couldn’t get anything going. We quit playing defense the second and third quarters. Give their kids credit because they kept battling.”
North Hardin turned up the heat once again on the defensive end. After the Eagles missed an attempt to pull closer, Gosa drove in for a layup to end the third quarter. Lewis scored three straight points to start the fourth and King sank two free throws to cap a 7-0 run. The Trojans closed the game on a 28-15 spurt.
“We came out with a lot of intensity,” said Lewis, who finished with 11 points and nine rebounds. “We got a little complacent. We started thinking the game was over after the first quarter. We’re still trying to get everything together. It’s going to take a lot to get it right. We learned a lesson. We can’t let up after one good quarter.”
Landry led the way for the Trojans with 16 points and 17 rebounds, his second consecutive game with that many boards. Rasheed also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while King chipped in 11 points.
Senior Rashaan Allen paced the Eagles with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Armstead and Miranda each scored nine points.
UP NEXT: North Hardin plays at Louisville Western on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the first game of a boy/girl doubleheader. Fort Knox plays at John Hardin on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Chuck Jones can be reached at (270) 505-1759 or email@example.com.