The Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Rockets have a way of sort of hanging around.
The Rockets did that against the South Central Conference leading Knoxville Panthers Tuesday, Jan. 28, in Knoxville.
Knoxville led by five, 30-25 at halftime. The lead was 13 in the second quarter before EBF went on an 8-0 run to close the quarter in a game the Panthers eventually won 57-47.
The run by the Rockets extended early into the third quarter and was 14-0 as they led 31-30 with 6:15 left in the quarter on a field goal by Isaiah Smith.
A free throw by Mike Hudson ended the run and put the teams even at 31-31.
The Rockets kept the momentum to built a eight point lead, 40-32. The total run for EBF was 23-1.
Then Kieren Nichols took over the game and couldn’t be stopped.
He made drives to the bucket out of the smallest of openings as the EBF zone.
Nichols had seven points for the night before he scored six of Knoxville’s final eight points in the quarter to force a 40-40 tie.
The Panther junior was just getting started in the third. In the fourth it was overdrive mode for the fleet footed Panther.
Nichols carved up EBF with 11 points in the fourth quarter, as only Spencer Hixson with a three ball scored a field goal for KHS in the final quarter.
The Nichols electricity sparked the Panthers to the hard earned 57-47 win.
The victory kept Knoxville unbeaten in league play at 8-0 as they improved to 11-3 overall.
The Rockets fell to 5-9 and to 3-7 in the SCC.
Nichols finished with 24 points and Hixson had 16, 11 of them coming in the first half.
Luke Keitges got off to a quick start with three 3-point goals in the opening half as he finished with nine. Next came Hudson with seven and Ben Olson with one point.
EBF had 17 points by Isaiah Smith, 11 from Ethan Davis and 10 from Logan McCrea.
Odds and Ends
The Rockets were ice cold from 3-point range, sinking just 1-of-16 from behind the arc.
Knoxville Coach Jeff Larson commented, “We survived. EBF is a good team, but we need to learn to play for 32 minutes.
“Kieren took the game over by himself. Luke hit some big threes in the first half and Mike Hudson provides a lot of hustle on the court, he is scrappy and knows his role.”