PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Knights dispatch Falcons early, 74-51

Photo by Brennen Rupp RTR’s Carter Hansen shoots a layup during their game against Red Rock Central on Friday. The Knights

ADRIAN – The Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Knights entered Friday night’s contest against the Red Rock Central Falcons as the eighth ranked team in Class 1A. The Knights displayed why they are highly regarded in the rankings by defeating the Falcons 74-51.

The Knights jumped out to 6-0 lead and never looked back. They led 16-5 with Westin Kirk scoring 10 points in the opening minutes. Another Kirk basket pushed extended RTR’s lead to 20-8.

“Westin did a great job of running the court,” RTR coach Ted Kern said. “You have to reward the big man when he is out running like that.”

The Knights pushed their lead to 25-8 off a Garrett Kern 3-pointer. Another Kern 3-pointer pushed RTR’s lead to 38-16. The next time down the court Kern hit his third 3-pointer of the night to push RTR’s lead to 41-16.

“We found our pressure a little bit tonight,” Kern said. “We played with great energy in the beginning. We got after things in the fullcourt that led to some transition baskets.”

At the half RTR lead 43-20. The Knights opened the scoring in the second half of a Carter Hansen basket.

The Falcons didn’t roll over and die. They got the game back within 60-42 by forcing a few RTR turnovers.

“They got after us. Give them credit,” Kern said. “They really dug deep in the second half. They matched our energy and maybe exceeded a little bit. That’s one thing we have to take moving forward.”

It was a big night for the RTR bench in terms of minutes. Brett Kelley stepped into the starting five with Jonah Johnson out. Tucker Baune provided valuable minutes in the post, while Jared Hauswedell, Jared Baartman and Payton Hess all saw valuable minutes on the floor.

“It was big for Brett,” Kern said. “The experience on the floor. It was big for our bench. They did some nice things. They are going to be big for us moving forward. It was nice to see them seize the opportunity.”

Kirk finished the game with a team-leading 17 points. The senior post player also grabbed six rebounds and dished out six assists.

Carter Hansen finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Cooper Hansen scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Kern scored 13 points.

With the win the Knights improved to 7-0 on the season. They’ll be back in action on Jan. 2 against Renville County West.