PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Knights continue strong start with win over HBC

Photo by Brennen Rupp RTR’s Carter Hansen drives down the lane during their game against Hills-Beaver Creek on Monday. The Knights defeated the Patriots 79-44.

TYLER – The Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Knights continued their early season dominance with a convincing 79-44 victory over Hills-Beaver Creek on Monday. With the win the Knights improved to 10-0 on the season and have won nine of their 10 games by double digits.

The driving force behind RTR’s fast start this season has been their attacking defense. That defense was on full display against the Patriots, as the Knights forced HBC into 28 turnovers.

“We played with very good energy tonight,” RTR coach Ted Kern said. “We communicated very well. The rotation was good. It helps us on the offensive end when we can play with that kind of energy on defense.”

The Patriots got on the board first by splitting a pair of free throws. A Carter Hansen 3-point play got the Knights off and rolling. Carter was set up by his twin brother, Cooper on the scoring play.

A Garrett Kern 3-pointer put the Knights up 12-3. A Cooper Hansen bucket gave the Knights their biggest lead of the game at 20-8.

At the half the Knights held a commanding 44-18 lead. Kern said that making sure his team comes out focused in the second half can be a challenge, but noted that his players know there is always something they can improve upon.

“It can be a trick sometimes,” Kern said. “This is a veteran team. They know they need to stay focused. There is always something that you can work on. You take those opportunities to work on some things.”

Westin Kirk opened the scoring for the Knights in the second half following a Patriots 3-pointer. Kirk finished the game with a team-leading 24 points. Kirk also grabbed five rebounds.

“My teammates were setting me up,” Kirk said. “They were driving and dishing well. We moved the ball well.”

The two teammates that were setting him up the most were the Hansen Twins. Cooper Hansen dished out six assists, while Carter dished out five assists. Cooper finished the game with nine points and 12 rebounds. Carter scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds. Kern finished the game with 15 points.

The Knights will look to improve to 11-0 tonight when they take on Dawson-Boyd in Tyler. The Blackjacks own a 7-3 record.

“We need the same kind of energy defensively,” Kern said. “Dawson-Boyd is a very nice team. They can bring scoring at you from a lot of directions. We need to be at the top of our game defensively.”

A matchup that will be worth watching is Kirk against Dawson-Boyd’s post player, Bentley Boike. Kirk said it will take a team effort to slow down Boike.

“I’m just going to have to try and outwork that big boy,” Kirk said. ‘My teammates will have to help a little bit. It’s going to be a team effort. Everybody is going to have to box out. It’s going to be a team effort.”

RTR 44 35-79

HBC 18 26 44

SCORING: RTR (Kirk 24; Kern 15; Carter Hansen 11; Cooper Hansen 9; Johnson 5).

REBOUNDING: RTR 40 (Cooper Hansen 12; Carter Hansen 6; Kirk 5).

ASSISTS: RTR 20 (Cooper Hansen 6; Carter Hansen 5; Kirk 4).

STEALS: RTR 17 (Carter Hansen 4; Three with 3).