PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Knights rout Dawson-Boyd to remain undefeated

Photo by Brennen Rupp RTR’s Jonah Johnson dishes a pass to teammate Westin Kirk during their game against Dawson-Boyd on Tuesday. The Knights defeated the Blackjacks 85-67.

TYLER – A fast start for the Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Knights proved to be the difference Tuesday evening. In a battle of Camden Conference powers the Knights jumped out to a 17-3 lead against the Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks. That early hole proved to be too much to overcome for the Blackjacks, as they fell to the Knights 85-67.

Garrett Kern got the scoring started for the Knights on a pair of free throws. A Romell Horton 3-pointer got the Blackjacks on the board to cut RTR’s lead to 4-3. The Knights answered by going on a 13-0 run to open up a 17-3 lead.

“It was very important to start fast,” RTR coach Ted Kern said. “Give them a lot of credit. They fought hard. They made some shots to get back into the game. They had a little flustered with that zone. We did a better job down the stretch in the second half of executing our offense.”

Dawson-Boyd’s number one objective was to take care of the basketball. Dawson-Boyd coach Cory Larson said his team turned the ball over too many times at the start of the game.

“That’s exactly the start you don’t want to have against them,” Larson said. “They came ready to play. Our number one objective was to take care of the basketball and to eliminate the live ball turnovers. That kind of fed them and led to some easy baskets. To try and dig out of that hole is difficult. You can’t replicate the intensity of that game situation. They have good length and to try and do that in practice is not even close. We knew we were going to have some turnovers, but we had too many.”

With the Knights holding a 29-9 lead Jake Lee hit a 3-pointer for the Blackjacks to cut RTR’s lead to 29-12. A few moments later Lee hit another 3-pointer to make it a 29-18 game but the Knights would take a 10-point lead into the halftime break, 43-33.

“I give our kids credit,” Larson said. “We fought back and got it to 10 at halftime. The goal at halftime was to cut that in half. We got it to four points and they answered by going on a run. They are a tough team. They do a great job of taking away the basketball. They speed you up on the offensive end. We like to play fast, but in the half court set we prefer not to play that fast.”

Cooper Hansen opened the scoring in the first half for the Knights to make it a 45-33 game. The Knights led 47-33, but the Blackjacks went on a 11-2 run to cut the lead to 49-44 to force an RTR timeout.

Coming out of the timeout the Knights went on a 7-2 run to push the lead back to 54-46.

“We needed to get post touches,” Kern said. “Plain and simple. We did a great job. We had to find our defense again. We had lapsed there in the second half.”

A Cooper Hansen 3-pointer gave the Knights a 61-48 lead. A Jonah Johnson fastbreak layup put the Knights up 63-48. Another Cooper Hansen 3-pointer gave the Knights a 66-50 lead.

“We shared the ball really well,” Kern said. “When we did settle in and get the post touches we did a nice job of sharing the basketball.”

Westin Kirk led the Knights with 23 points. Kirk also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out six assists.

Kern finished the game with 20 points. Cooper Hansen scored 16 points. Jonah Johnson finished with 10 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Carter Hansen scored nine points.

Horton and Bentley Boike both finished with 13 points for the Blackjacks. Lee finished with 12 points.

With the win the Knights improved to 11-0. They’ll be back in action on Friday against Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg.

Dawson-Boyd is now 7-4 following the loss. They’ll be back in action on Thursday against Minneota.

“We have to learn from our mistakes,” Larson said. “We have to stick together. There are going to be other times where we get behind. The only way you get out of it as working together as a group.”

DB 33 27 67

RTR 43 42 85

SCORING: RTR (Kirk 23; Kern 20; Cooper Hansen 16; Johnson 10; Carter Hansen 9) DB (Boike 13; Horton 13; Lee 12; Swenson 6; Stratmoen 6; Husby 6).

REBOUNDING: RTR (Johnson 9; Kirk 7) DB (Swenson 8; Husby 5).

ASSISTS: RTR (Johnson 8; Kirk 6) DB (Husby 2).