ACHILLE – Freshman Bradley McKnight is beginning to put his stamp on the Eagles, leading Achille with 22 points in Friday’s 66-57 win over Rock Creek in front of a Homecoming crowd.
It was one of the first times McKnight has eclipsed senior Austin Beene in scoring. Beene, who averages just under 29 points per game, struggled early but still scored 17 before fouling out. (Beene also logged eight rebounds, six assists and four blocked shots.)
“I just try to do my best to contribute to this team, to do what I can to help us win,” said McKnight, a former Rock Creek student. These two teams will likely meet again at this week’s Bryan County Tournament.
“I like playing them,” McKnight said. “They are a well-coached team and they play really smart.”
“Rock Creek has a very good basketball team,” said Achille Coach Nick Beene. “Coach (Rob) Frederick does a great job. We’re going to play them in the tournament and we know it’s going to be a tough battle.”
It was every bit of that Friday, with high-flying Leo Roper of the Mustangs getting caught up in a few over-the-back foul calls. In the fourth quarter, as momentum shifted in Achille’s favor, the Mustangs applied a smothering press to Beene which resulted in numerous fouls over loose basketballs. Some were called, some were not.
Rock Creek was stroking early, using quick press-breaking passes to get close-range shots. It helped them to a 15-8 lead after one quarter, as Beene went scoreless. But he scored nine in the second, and a three from T.J. Childree helped cut the Mustang lead to six at the half.
The Eagles (9-9) took the lead with a 9-0 second-half start which was stopped by a Bronson Burns put-back for Rock Creek. But McKnight scored 11 in the third to help a 24-6 Achille run and a double-digit lead.
The Mustangs got within six points before time ran out. They outscored the Eagles 23-20 in the frantic fourth. But the Eagles have now won two straight following a 68-56 win over Bennington earlier in the week. Beene scored 32 in that contest.
Scoring leaders for Achille: McKnight (22), Beene (17), Childree (11), Derrick Baker (10) and Jason Todd (6 on a pair from downtown). Scoring leaders for Rock Creek: Burns (15), Cameron Hammond (12), Toby McIntyre and Leo Roper (11 each) and David Dill (8).
Rock Creek girls 50 Achille 33
The Lady Mustangs dominated the second half to rally and defeat the Achille Lady Eagles 50-33 on Friday.
Achille held a 21-16 lead at the break but managed only four points in a third-quarter rout by Rock Creek. The Lady Mustangs outscored Achille 34-12 in the second half.
“It was just a matter of being more aggressive on offense,” said Rock Creek Coach Clyde Young. “In the second half, we switched up our defense and it turned our offense on to attacking. (Harle Heflin) stepped up big when we needed her. She played really well.”
Heflin made a huge momentum-turning play in the third quarter when Achille still held a lead. She stole the ball and went the distance for the and-one to tie the game at 23. She finished with a game-high 16 points as well as five rebounds.
Julie Layton added 11 points, Kaci Haislip scored nine, Arie Young had five and Teigan Munson scored four. Devyn Johnson scored five points and grabbed seven rebounds before leaving the game with a knee injury in the second half.
Marissa Williams led the Lady Eagles (11-7) with 14, followed by 11 for Mallory Phelps (including three from downtown in the first quarter).
The Lady Mustangs (6-11) did a good job of shutting down Achille scorer Kayla Wright, who had only eight points on Friday. Wright scored 17 earlier in the week in a 50-38 win over Bennington to overcome a 19-point night for Lady Bears’ Crystal Tate.