EDDYVILLE — It was a tale of two halves Thursday night when the Knoxville Panthers invaded Eddyville to tangle with the league leading EBF Rockets. The Panthers shot lights out in the first half and were trailing by only two at the intermission of a free wheeling game that saw EBF win 93-57.
In that first half, the Panthers rifled in eight three-point baskets and freshman Gabe Clark was 5-of-5 from three-point land. The scoring was contagious for the Panthers in the first half as they used a nice inside-outside balance to keep the Rockets scrambling to hold on to a 45-43 lead at halftime.
EBF took an early 10-4 lead behind drive to the hoop by Brooks Moore, a give and go layup by Kyle Davis, a bucket in the lane by Jesse Cornelison and a tomahawk slam and an inside basket by Ethan Davis. The Panthers tied the score at 10-10 with a pair of inside buckets by Jack Bertrand and a baseline runner by Noah Keefer.
The Rockets got into early foul trouble and the bench kept them in the game as Lute Judy and Karic Stout provided some big minutes off the bench. EBF would build leads by as much as 10 points in the second quarter, but each time the Panthers would answer with some red hot shooting.
“We had to introduce the team to Gabe Clark at halftime,” Rocket Coach Travis Stout quipped. “He really burned us in the first half. I really didn’t have to say much at halftime. They were determined to turn things around and you could see it in their eyes. We did come out slow and lackadaisical in the first half. We refocused at halftime and were set on doing what we do best.”
The refocusing was evident as EBF ripped off a 12-0 run to open the third period. Ethan Davis connected from the inside twice and then broke free for a coast to coast layup to get things rolling. Then Kyle Davis scored on the inside, Moore drove the middle for two and Cornelison connected on the inside to complete the run. Bertrand and Landon Norris tried to stop the bleeding with a bucket apiece, but once the Rocket machine got rolling, there was no stopping.
The change of attitude on defense showed as the Rockets outscored the Panthers 48-14 in the second half to dominate the game. And the Panthers were not able to connect from behind the arc in the second half.
Moore, a sophomore jumping jack for the Rockets, was a dominate figure in the game as he racked up a game high of 38 points and numerous rebounds. In addition to Moore’s outburst, the Rockets got double figure scoring from Ethan Davis (14), Judy (12) and Carsen Wade (11).
“I was happy with the first half,” Panther Coach Troy Pearson said. “We came out strong and played well together. We shot extremely well and we were able to get them in foul trouble. In the second half they picked up the level of defense and we did not match up well. When the shots go down, you look good. But when they don’t go down, not so good.”
Clark led the Panthers with 19 points while Jay Kellar was the only other Panther in double digits with 10 points.
With the win, the Rockets are 6-2 over-all and 5-0 in the SCC. The Panthers are now 2-5 and 2-3 in the SCC. The Rockets go to Centerville on Friday while the Panthers host Albia and then they travel to Pella Christian on Monday.
Knoxville 15 28 6 8 - 57
EBF 21 24 22 26 - 93
Knoxville Scoring (FG FTM/FTA PTS) – Mike Greubel 2 0/0 4, Gabe Clark 6 2/2 19, Jay Kellar 3 2/4 10, Koby Higginbotham 1 0/0 3, Noah Keefer 1 2/2 4, Kaiden Smith 1 0/0 2, Kaden McGill 1 1/2 3, Landen Norris 3 0/0 6, Jack Bertrand 3 0/3 6. Team 21 7/15 57. Three Point Goals (8) – Clark 5, Kellar 2, Higginbotham 1.
Remaining Knoxville stats were not available at press time.
EBF Scoring (FG FTM/FTA PTS) – Jesse Cornelison 3 0/0 6, Brooks Moore 16 6/6 38, Kyle Davis 3 0/0 6, Sam Seddon 1 0/0 2, Ethan Davis 7 0/1 14, Karic Stout 1 0/0 2, Carsen Wade 4 0/3 11, Lute Judy 6 0/0 12, Nathan Roberts 1 0/0 2. Team 42 6/10 93. Three Point Goals (3) – Wade (3).