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Ron Bevars didn’t really like what he saw from his North Hardin Trojans in the first half Friday night at 17th District rival Fort Knox.
Despite building a 22-point lead and forcing the Eagles into 13 turnovers by halftime, Bevars didn’t think his team was executing the way it should. The longtime coach challenged his team to play better in the second half.
North Hardin did just that, holding Fort Knox to 11 points after halftime en route to an 81-36 win.
“We had a hard time getting things going in the first half,” Bevars said. “But we came out in the third quarter and started playing better. I don’t know what was going on. We got the ball out and hit the running lanes and did what we were supposed to do. We weren’t doing that in the first half. I thought we all started doing what we were supposed to be doing in the second half.”
It led to another lopsided victory over Fort Knox (2-8, 0-3 district). The Trojans have won eight of the last 12 meetings by 30 or more points.
North Hardin held the Eagles to less than 20 percent shooting (9-of-47) from the field and forced 20 turnovers in winning its third straight.
“We came out and were already on a roll, so we clamped down defensively and our offense just comes from that,” said North Hardin senior center Tyler Landry, who had eight points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. “That’s what got us going. We were just moving the ball really well.”
Once the Trojans got rolling in the third quarter, the Eagles couldn’t keep up.
Senior guard Ruben Gosa, who finished with a game-high 20 points, scored six to spark an 11-2 run to start the third quarter, helping North Hardin (12-5, 3-1) stretch its lead to 58-27 with 3:40 left.
The Trojans led 64-29 going to the fourth, which started the running clock.
“I think tonight we were able to work on our team play and sharing the basketball,” said sophomore guard Tyronn King, who scored 15 points. “We got out on the fast break and were able to find our teammates. We did a good job of that, especially in the second half. Our chemistry has gotten better and I think that will help us out the rest of the year.”
With another big district game looming Tuesday against rival Elizabethtown (7-3, 0-2), Bevars said that’s a good thing.
“We’ve got two days to practice for that game,” he said. “We just tried to get through this game and do what we do. We didn’t mention anyone other than Fort Knox. We try to execute everything we do no matter who we’re playing.”
Fort Knox, which lost for the fourth time in five games, was missing a few players because school isn’t back in session. Only nine players dressed, and all nine played.
“We were short a few folks, but it is what it is,” Fort Knox coach Kip Rambo said. “When we get everybody back, we’ll see how we are. That’s all I can say. We’ve got a few people who are out of town and we don’t start school back till Monday. I’m looking forward to getting them back. I think we’re a little better when they’re here.”
The Eagles briefly held a 1-0 lead as junior guard Chris Jackson made a free throw after North Hardin senior guard Scotty Sterusky was called for a technical foul after an official saw him dunking in pre-game warmups.
The momentum didn’t last long, however. Sterusky, who had 14 points and seven rebounds, scored five of North Hardin’s first 10 points.
The Trojans led 22-10 after the first period. A 12-0 run pushed it to 34-10 as Gosa had a steal and layup.
“This is three wins in a row,” Landry said. “We’ve got a big game against E’town on Tuesday and we’re looking forward to it. We’ve just got to stay focused.”
Sophomore guard Kelvin Pickens had 10 points and three rebounds off the bench for Fort Knox, while Jackson added nine points and seven rebounds.
Senior wing Rashaan Allen played despite a nagging wrist injury and had six points, 10 rebounds and one block. Allen had to shoot free throws under-handed and was seen holding his wrist throughout the game.
“He sprained it before Christmas and we’ve been wrapping it and everything we can to keep it healthy,” Rambo said. “He’s playing through it, but he’s definitely hurting.”
UP NEXT: North Hardin plays at Elizabethtown at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Fort Knox plays at Elizabethtown at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Josh Claywell can be reached at (270) 505-1752 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NORTH HARDIN 81
FORT KNOX 36
North Hardin 22 25 17 17—81
Fort Knox 10 15 4 7—36
Team FG FT R TP
North Hardin 32-62 16-22 42 81
Fort Knox 9-47 16-30 38 36
Player FG FT R TP
Lewis 5-6 0-0 2 10
King 6-9 2-2 3 15
Gosa 8-15 4-5 2 20
Sterusky 6-6 2-3 7 14
Landry 1-8 6-8 13 8
Thomas 0-2 0-0 3 0
Spruiell 1-2 0-0 1 2
Hopkins 1-4 0-0 3 2
Rasheed 3-9 2-3 6 8
Alexander 1-1 0-1 0 2
Player FG FT R TP
Jackson 1-6 7-9 7 9
Gibson 1-5 0-0 0 2
Allen 1-6 4-8 10 6
Brown 2-3 0-4 2 4
Armstead 0-10 0-3 5 0
Pickens 3-10 3-4 3 10
James 1-4 0-0 2 3
Blanco 0-1 0-0 0 0
Borner 0-2 2-2 3 2
3-POINTERS: NORTH HARDIN (1-7): Tyronn King 1-1, Malik Thomas 0-2, Ruben Gosa 0-2, Khalil Rasheed 0-2. FORT KNOX (2-13): Tarik James 1-3, Kelvin Pickens 1-3, Michael Armstead 0-3, Andre Borner 0-2, Chris Jackson 0-1, Tier Blanco 0-1. ASSISTS: NORTH HARDIN (12): Nick Lewis 4, Ruben Gosa 3, Tyronn King 2, Kobe Spruiell 1, Malik Thomas 1. FORT KNOX (2): Chris Jackson 1, Kyle Gibson 1.