Knights lose lead, fall to Jags 65-52

By Wes McCard

February 7, 2014

After a 67-62 come back victory over Spalding in a physical game just over two weeks ago, the Runnin’ Knights looked to go for the season sweep on Tuesday night in Griffin. After the first quarter of play, it looked as if the Knights might blow the Jags out of their own gym.

Upson-Lee played perhaps one of their best quarters of the year, outscoring the Jags 20-10 in the first quarter. At one point the Knights held an 18-6 lead. Upson-Lee knocked down (4) three-pointers in the first quarter alone.

However, after the first quarter of play, the Knights were outscored 55-26. Upson-Lee played terrific defense in the first quarter of the game, with a suffering 1-2-2 half court trap. In the second quarter the Knights decided to switch things up a little with a match-up zone, a zone which the Jags exposed.

Spalding and the Knights basically played the exact opposite in the second quarter, as the Jags outscored the Knights 21-10 and taking a 31-30 lead at halftime.

In the start of the third quarter, the Knights put a little run together, but everything fell apart once again after starting point guard O’qualon Harris was knocked out of the game. Driving to the basket early in the third quarter, Harris was elbowed in the mouth, without a foul being called. Harris immediately covered his mouth and ran to the bench, After the bleeding had stopped, Harris was transported to the hospital where he received five stitches in his bottom lip.

The Knights dearly missed Harris in the game, as they struggled to get much going offensively in the later stages of the third quarter and the entire fourth quarter. The shots Upson-Lee seemingly took at will in the first half were no longer there in the second.

The Jags were able to get their fast break offense going and outscored the Knights 18-10 in the third quarter, taking a 49-40 lead. In the fourth quarter it was all Spalding, as they outscored Upson-Lee 17-6 and cruised to a 65-52 victory.

Mali Crafter led the Knights with 15 points, including (3) three pointers. David Marshall added 11 points, while O’qualon Harris scored 10 points in just over two quarters of play. Antonie Miller and Kenderius Pennyman each tallied six points, while Dinasis Walker added four points.

On Wednesday night, Upson-Lee hit the road again to take on the Jonesboro Cardinals in a make up game. The Cardinals quickly took a 10-2 lead on the Knights, and controlled the tempo from the start of the game. The Cardinals used a methodical half court offense to wear down the Knights to earn a 61-35 victory.

Upson-Lee struggled in their half court offense, and were never able to get their fast break going. Anytime the Knights put together a little run in the contest, it was answered by a bigger run from the Cardinals.

Kenderius Pennyman paced the Knights with eight points, while O’qualon Harris (five stitches and all) scored seven points. Tigger Walker, Antonie Miller, and David Marshall each tallied four points in the game. Dinasis Walker, Malik Crafter, and Eric Graddick all chipped in with two points each in the loss.

The Knights will host the Riverdale Raiders tonight for Senior Night. Tip off is slated for 7:30 p.m. with Senior Night festivities scheduled between the girls and boys game.

To contact Wes McCard, call 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @WesMc21.