The Upson-Lee Runnin’ Knights basketball squad have had its’ ups and downs this season, with more downs over the last few games. On Friday night, UL suffered a tough 62-42 loss to the No. 5 state-ranked Jonesboro Cardinals. The Knights entered Friday’s contest losers of three straight, by a combined five points.
UL was unable to keep the game against Jonesboro close after a tough second half. Upson-Lee only trailed the number one team in the sub-region 30-28 at halftime, but the Knights were outscored 32-14 in the second half. The freshman duo of Kenderius Pennyman and David Marshall each scored 14 points in the loss.
After losing four straight games, the Knights faced off with another team headed in the opposite direction. The Greenville Patriots, winner of eight straight games, traveled to T-Town on Saturday night looking for nine in a row. It was Senior Night for Upson-Lee, and the Knights scored a season high 83 points in the seven-point victory, 83-76.
As the game began, the Knights started all five of their seniors, and the Patriots looked poised to win their ninth game in a row. Greenville jumped out to a commanding 16-2 lead halfway through the first quarter of play. After a timeout, the Knights sent their regular starting five on the court, mounting a monstrous comeback.
Behind the sharp shooting of Kenderius Pennyman, the Knights ended the first quarter of play on a 17-9 run. Pennyman finished the quarter with 10 points, including (2) three-pointers, and the Knights trailed 25-19 at the end of one period.
In the second quarter of play, the Knights continued to play sizzling offense. UL controled the boards and got out in their transition offense. Upson-Lee senior Travis Pittman played one of his best games of the season for the Knights. The 6’3” senior finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Pittman controled the glass for the Knights for much of the game.
Greenville also caught fire from the perimeter in the second quarter. The Patriots, who drilled (8) three-pointers in the game, continued to lead at halftime 43-38 after scoring 18 points in the second quarter. Greenville’s Jamal McKee scored 25 points in the game, while knocking down (7) three-pointers.
After trailing by five points at halftime, the Knights started to apply more defensive pressure to the Patriots’ back court. Upson-Lee came out in the second half playing a 1-2-2 half court trap. UL was able to contain the Patriots’ offense in the third quarter, and after a bucket by David Marshall with 3:41 to go in the quarter, the Knights took a 53-51 lead.
From that point on, the Knights started to put their foot on the gas pedal. The Knights scored 30 points in the fourth quarter, enabling them to tie their season high in points, earning the 83-76 victory.
Pennyman led the Knights with 26 points, tying his career high. Senior Travis Pittman finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Caleb Ward also reached double figures with 11 points. Freshman O’qualon Harris scored 11 points, dished out six assists, and added three steals. Freshman David Marshall scored 10 points and added eight rebounds. Jalen Searcy netted six points and two steals, while Toby Fuentes scored three points, handed out seven assists, and added three steals.
The Knights will play their last regular season game of the season tonight at the ULHS gymnasium. UL will take on the Jaguars from Spalding High School. The Knights defeated Spalding 79-76 in overtime earlier this season. Tip off for tonight’s game is slated for 7:30 p.m.