May 25, 2024

Knights drop first game this season on buzzer-beater

Photo by WCA Sophomore Lindsay Woessner Ben Bye puts up a jumper in the lane for West Central Area in their game against Staples-Motley Dec. 15 in Barrett.

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Sam Peterson
Grant County Herald

The Knights came into last week with a 4-0 record and made it five straight wins when they hosted Staples-Motley in Barrett, earning a 93-73 win. WCA then hosted Melrose in Barrett Dec. 19 and found themselves in a dog fight. The Knights held a lead late until Melrose hit a three with zeros on the clock to hand WCA their first loss of the season 71-70.

WCA 93

Staples-Motley 73

The WCA Knights defeated the Staples-Motley Cardinals 93-73 on Friday night. The Knights started the game with a technical for hanging on the rim. The Cardinals made both free throws followed by a three-pointer on the first possession to take a 5-0 and after a couple more Cardinal threes, the Knights found themselves in a 13-5 hole.  

Once the Knights got the lead, they built it up to 42-35 late, but another Cardinal scoring flurry helped Staples-Motley pull to within 44-42 at the half. “We have to credit Staples,” said Knights coach Kraig Hunter. “They are athletic and broke us down off the dribble way too much, which resulted in us having three starters in foul trouble and giving them 14 free throws in the first half. That, along with them shooting the ball well from three prevented us from keeping the lead we had.”

The Knights built a 54-46 lead to start the second half, but the Cardinals hit eight more threes in the half to keep within reach for a while getting back as close as 66-63. “They shot the ball so well, but at about the nine-minute mark we were finally able to string together some stops and start pulling away, building a 20-point lead. Moving forward, we have to do a better job of containing dribble penetration,” coach Hunter said.

Leaders for the Knights were Camden Anderson with 31 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals. Ben Bye added 17 points and nine rebounds. Bryce Kjesbo was also in double figures with 11 points, while adding three rebounds and three assists. Mitch Dewey had nine points, four assists and three rebounds. Cash Nelson also had nine points. Sam Hanson had eight points, three rebounds and three assists. Marshall Dewey had six points, eight rebounds and three assists. Owen Sanstead added two points and five rebounds.

“Mitch Dewey was a key for us defensively when we started to pull away for his defense on Eli Rutten. Also, with four people in foul trouble, I really thought our bench play was great. Marshall Dewey, Cash Nelson, and Owen Sanstead were all important in our win,” coach Hunter said.

Melrose 71

WCA 70

The Melrose Dutchmen defeated the WCA Knights 71-70 on a corner fade away three-pointer by Connor Engelmeyer with no time left on Tuesday night in Barrett.  

Engelmeyer had 26 points in the game including five 3-pointers. Conner Anderson also hurt the Knights from three hitting six three-pointers for 18 points. The Dutchmen made 13-20 threes for 65% in the game. 

Scoring for the Knights were Cam Anderson 23, Mitch Dewey 18, Bryce Kjesbo 11, Sam Hanson eight and Ben Bye and Nas Dotts each adding five. Bye was the rebounding leader with 10. Anderson had five assists, and Dotts added four. Dewey led in steals with two.

“With our schedule, there is no margin for error throughout the game against any team. Every possession matters. People will look at the last play of the game, but there were many other plays earlier that cost us. We have to learn and move on,” Knights Coach Kraig Hunter said.

The 5-1 Knights are off until the Pelican Rapids Holiday tournament on December 28-29.

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