By David Sharp
A fired up North Shelby Raider team grabbed a 26-21 halftime lead during Tri-Rivers Conference boys’ action with Knox County. The Eagles (6-5, 2-1) responded with a 31-15 second half surge and took a 52-41 victory. Mitchel Penn scored 11 points in the final two periods for the visitors.
North Shelby’s four guard offense played hard nosed defense in the first half, contributing to probably the poorest Knox County boys’ first half of the season. The Raiders could have extended their lead, but made only two of nine first half free throws.
"We didn’t play particularly well in the first half," said KCHS coach Jesse Crawford. "They are a scrappy team. They hit some open jump shots in the first half. We used some motivational techniques at halftime to get (Knox County) ready to play in the second half."
"That was a tougher game than the 11 point score indicated," said Crawford. "We hit our free throws down the stretch. Mitchel Penn was huge in the second half. He hit seven of his eight free throw chances. Daniel McMahon reinjured his leg, and didn’t play much in the second half. We got another great night out of Cory Shultz. For the last four games, he has been our leading scorer."
Knox County sank 14 of 20 free throws on the night. The Eagles sported a 63% team free throw shooting average after their 11th game. The Raiders converted six of 17 from the charity stripe. The Eagles were able to shut down the home team’s offense during the second half. Knox County recorded nine steals, and only eight turnovers during the contest.
The Eagles shot 36% as a team from the field, six points below their season average. Knox County was 2-10 from three point land. Knox County pulled down 13 offensive boards and finished with 34 team rebounds. Knox County dished out ten team assists.
Cory Shultz scored a game high 19 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Dennis Dent had another double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Mitchel Penn was in double figures with 11 points along with three rebounds.
Daniel McMahon scored five points with three rebounds before leaving the contest due to injury in the second half. Brett Wilkerson scored four points, all in the second half with two rebounds. Shane Clouse added one point, a rebound and a blocked shot. Dennis Dent had the remaining Eagle shot rejection.
Michael Stoneburner led North Shelby with nine points. Dahn Kemp tossed in a pair of Raider three balls and finished with eight North Shelby points.
By David Sharp