Northmor opened their KMAC season in boys’ basketball in fine fashion on Friday, dispatching visiting Fredericktown by an 81-51 margin, moving their record to 4-0 overall.
“I can’t say enough — to come out 4-0, I’m in a happy place right now,” said Knight coach Zach Ruth. “I told the boys to take one game at a time, but tonight was monumental in a way; the first game in the KMAC.”
The Knights got out to a fast start, as both Tyler and Kyle Kegley put in five points to stake the Knights to a 10-0 lead. Fredericktown got a pair of three-pointers by Nick Cunningham to cut into that lead, but a 6-1 Northmor run sparked by a pair of shots by Demetrius Johnson made the score 16-6.
However, the Freddies scored the final two points of the first quarter and added another Cunningham three to open the second. With his team only leading 16-12, Knight senior Brock Pletcher took over the game, hitting three three-pointers in a two-minute stretch to help Northmor boost their lead to a 27-17 margin.
“He comes out in the first quarter because I was upset with how he was playing,” said Ruth. “I challenged him on the bench and he says he’s ready to go.”
Whatever Ruth said must have worked, as after a scoreless first quarter, Pletcher scored 26 points over the remaining three to lead the Knights. In the second quarter, he got help from Tyler Kegley, who scored eight points. Despite Johnson being on the bench for much of the period due to foul trouble, the team was able to maintain their lead, which wound up being 37-27 at the half.
Ruth gave a lot of credit to his bench, particularly complementing Eason Neal, who came in for Johnson.
“What I’ve learned these first four games is that we can go to Eason Neal on the bench and we’re going to get Lane Bachelder up there, too,” he said.
Northmor took any suspense out of the game in the third quarter, as they scored the first eight points with Pletcher contributing five. Five more points by Pletcher and four by Kyle Kegley gave the Knights a 56-38 lead going into the final period.
“I think we gave up six or seven threes in the first half and they only hit one in the second, so we adjusted there,” said Ruth.
The Knights continued their offensive barrage in the final period, putting up 25 points in the final eight minutes. Kyle Kegley and Blake Miller added seven each, while Pletcher put in five and Johnson had four. For the game, the Knights had 11 three-pointers.
“An advantage this year is that last year, teams could zone us because we didn’t have perimeter power, but they can’t this year,” said Ruth of his team’s strong outside shooting.
Another thing Ruth is pleased with is his squad’s balanced scoring. After Pletcher’s 26, which included six three-pointers, the Knights got 18 from Kyle Kegley, 14 from Tyler Kegley, 11 from Miller and nine from Johnson.
“Our five starters are all capable of scoring 20-plus any night,” he said. “Sophomore Blake Miller, in his first four varsity games, has been in double figures in three of them.”