Diversity is good for a lot of things, and basketball offenses fall into that category.
South Knox’s boys basketball team showed some rare balance Friday against visiting Northeast Dubois. Usual leader Dakota Candler scored nine of his game-high 14 points in the third quarter, and the Spartans were close to having four double-figure scorers in a 44-31 Blue Chip Conference victory.
Dylan Maeder provided a season-high nine points to go with a game-high eight rebounds, leading the team to a 34-16 edge on the boards. Brennon Robinson tallied nine points, and Tristian Wirth collected a season-high seven, all in the fourth quarter.
It was all needed for the Spartans (6-4, 3-1 Blue Chip), who stumbled through a 15-point, 15-turnover first half. The feisty Jeeps (3-7, 1-3) forged a halftime tie, but their offense couldn’t keep up after intermission.
South Knox coach David Burkett said he was upset with his team’s play early as he called timeout before the Spartans scored. He and his team spent the opening half shaking their heads at their inept play. But a 29-point second half helped salve the wounds.
“They were face-guarding Candler, and we had a hard time getting him the ball or just making a pass in the first half. We threw the ball right to Dubois on three out-of-bounds play,” Burkett said. “We decided at halftime to clear a side for Candler and allow him to play some one-on-one because we didn’t think anybody could stay in front of him. He was more dominant in the second half.
“I was happy we won and the way we played the second half. We did get hung up on some of their screens, which I didn’t like, but we did a good job of keeping the ball in front of us. They only made two 3s,” he said. “The score should have been more lopsided than what it was, but we missed several layups.”
Candler went to work immediately in the second half, scoring the first seven in a game-deciding, nine-point run. The junior notched a three-point play at 7:20, drilled a 12-footer at 6:15 and tallied on a drive at 5:18. Jackson Thomas then turned a steal into a layup, giving South Knox a 24-15 lead and forcing Dubois into a timeout at 4:50.
The Jeeps nibbled into the deficit, getting it to four on two occasions, the last at 31-27 on Grant Goller’s free throws with 7:35 remaining.
It was 35-29 when Wirth produced. The senior turned a rebound into a full-length drive for a basket at 5:42, netted an eight-footer off a hustling Maeder rebound at 3:30, then canned the team’s only 3-pointer at 2:50 to extend the lead to 42-31.
“We’ve worked hard on offense in practice this past week, playing 1-on-1 that helped some guys. Wirth has to give us that kind of stuff coming off the bench,” Burkett said. “Maeder was getting to the basket, which I like to see. Wirth was doing that too. Logan Fisher missed a couple of good looks, but they were good shots.”
South Knox played without top reserve Cody Dawson, who injured his ankle in practice this week. Starter Sam Singleton was undercut and fell on his back in the second quarter and didn’t return.
“It hurt not having Dawson in this game. It was a good matchup for him, a physical game, and I think Dubois would have had trouble contending with both Candler and Dawson inside,” Burkett said.
Goller led the Jeeps with eight points, and reserve Colby Pieper had seven.
South Knox’s junior varsity (4-3) fell, 47-45. Evan Thompson and Brady Robinson had 15 points apiece,
The Spartans host Bedford North Lawrence at 6 p.m. Saturday.
SOUTH KNOX 44, NORTHEAST DUBOIS 31
Stevens (f) 1-2 0-0 2, Goller (c) 2-5 3-4 8, P.Betz (g) 0-2 0-2 0, Kalb (g) 1-3 0-1 2, N.Betz (g) 2-8 2-2 7, Pieper 3-7 1-3 7, Scheppers 2-5 0-0 4, Lockard 0-6 1-3 1. Totals: 11-37 7-15 31.
Singleton (f) 1-1 0-0 2, Candler (f) 6-14 1-1 13, Maeder (g) 4-8 1-3 9, Robinson (g) 3-9 3-4 9, Thomas (g) 1-5 0-0 2, Wirth 3-3 0-1 7, Fisher 1-6 0-0 2, Thompson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-46 5-9 44.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Northeast Dubois |8-7-10-6 — 31
South Knox |7-8-16-13 — 44
3-pointers: NE Dubois 2-15 (N.Betz 1-6, Goller 1-3, Kalb 0-1, Pieper 0-2, Lockard 0-3), South Knox 1-6 (Wirth 1-1, Maeder 0-1, Robinson 0-1, Fisher 0-3). Rebounds: NE Dubois 16 (Pieper, Scheppers 4), South Knox 34 (Maeder 8). Turnovers: NE Dubois 16, South Knox 18. Fouls: NE Dubois 12, South Knox 15. JV: NE Dubois 47-45.