Just a week ago the Upson-Lee Knights (7-11, 3-5) had perhaps their most disappointing loss of the season, after dropping a tough contest in Barnesville to the Lamar County Trojans by a 73-72 score. On that night, the Trojans scored their game winning bucket with just 3 seconds left in the game. However, on Saturday night in the rematch at the ULHS gymnasium, the game could not end quickly enough for the Trojans, as they suffered through a 78-47 blowout loss at the hands of the Knights.
The Knights fell behind early in the contest, but made a rally in the second quarter to take a 32-25 lead at halftime. In the second half of the game, the Runnin’ Knights took over, and in front of a standing room only crowd, put on a show to earn their seventh victory of the season.
“After the slow start we really turned up the intensity,” said Knights head coach Darrell Lockhart. “I was really pleased with the way we rebounded the basketball and got out in our transition offense. If we come out with that type of intensity we can play with anyone. If we would have played with this type of energy throughout the season, we would have more than just seven victories. Hopefully we can keep this momentum going over the next few weeks.”
The Trojans came into T-Town on Saturday night looking to sweep the season series between Lamar County and Upson-Lee. The Trojans drained two 3-pointers to take a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter, but the Knights were able to stay in the game with a couple of buckets from David Marshall in the paint. However, at the end of the first quarter the Knights trailed by a 15-10 score and Marshall was in foul trouble with two early fouls.
In the second quarter of the game, Upson-Lee’s Kenderius Pennyman started to find his rhythm, knocking down a couple of three-pointers and a jumper from the top of the key. Upson-Lee also started to force the Trojans into some turnovers with a 1-2-2 full court press. The Knights press led to easy buckets for O’qualon Harris and Malik Crafter. Upson-Lee outscored Lamar County 22-10 in the second quarter to take a 32-25 lead at halftime.
In the early moments of the third quarter, the Knights, for all reasonable purposes, put the game out of reach. Upson-Lee received some huge minutes off the bench from junior Jarvis Atwater. The 6’3” post player led the Knights with a season high 14 points. While Marshall sat out on foul trouble, the Knights did not skip a beat with Atwater on the floor. By the end of the third quarter, the Knights led the Trojans by a 51-32 score.
In the fourth quarter the Knights gave the fans at the game a little dunking exhibition. Dinasis Walker, David Marshall, and O’qualon Harris each brought the crowd to their feet with break away dunks to add to the Knights’ lead. Lockhart was able to clear his bench in the fourth quarter, as Upson-Lee cruised to the 78-47 victory. The Knights bench players scored 26 points in the fourth quarter.
Atwater led the Knights with 14 points, while Malik Crafter finished with 12 points. O’qualon Harris added 11 points, five assists, and four steals in the victory. David Marshall scored 10 points and recorded six rebounds in limited playing time. Antonie Miller netted nine points, while Kenderius Pennyman scored eight points, snatched down 10 rebounds, and recorded five steals. Antonio Grantling had a nice game off the bench scoring seven points, while Dinasis Walker finished with six points. Upson-Lee sophomore Eric Graddick chipped in with one point in the victory.
The Knights will host the Jonesboro Cardinals (13-4) in an important Region 4 match up. The Cardinals have the No. 3 rated freshman in the country (James Walker, Jr. - 6’5”, 15 ppg) according to scout.com. The Knights and Cardinals are slated to tip off at 7:30 p.m.