By Anthony Jones
After kicking off the season at 1-1, Mississippi Valley Conference play began this past week for the Knights. Triad opened their conference schedule with the Mascoutah Indians and the Highland Bulldogs. The team also hosted the Marquette Explorers in a non-conference contest.
They played their first conference game at home against Highland last Tuesday. Wally Good opened the game by moving the Knights up 2-0. The Knights then went on a 9-3 run, with all of their points coming from Cael Elmore, to go up 11-3. Highland did manage to cut down the lead by the end of the quarter, when the Knights led 19-12.
Good kicked off another quarter by scoring for the Knights, this time going on a 6-0 run by himself. The Knights added four more points before half and surrendered only two points during the second period. Triad had a commanding lead at half of 29-12, while their leading scorer Good had two more points than Highland. Elmore was not far behind as he had 11 points of his own.
The third quarter opened up much more competitive than the rest of the game as the two teams traded point for point up to 38-21. Then, Highland started to rally and went on a 6-0 run. Led by two Kile Crook threes, the Knights responded quickly however and finished the quarter with an 8-2 segment.
The Bulldogs continued to fight in the final quarter and managed to trim Triad’s lead slightly by the end of the game. At the end of the matchup, Triad had won 57-43. Good dominated the game as he totaled 23 points and 7 rebounds. Sam Yager also had a solid outing with 11 points and 6 boards, while Crook finished the game with 8 points.
Next up on the schedule for the Knights was a road trip against the Mascoutah Indians. During their dominant season last year, Triad’s lone conference loss came at Mascoutah by a single point.
The Indians jumped out to an early lead of 14-4, but Triad closed the quarter strong to trim the deficit. Crook hit two free throws and Good sank a basket to end the period trailing 14-8.
The two teams went back and forth at the beginning of the second quarter, and Elmore scored two points to move Triad down 24-19 mid way through the quarter. Mascoutah responded with an 8-2 run to close out the quarter however, giving them a 32-21 lead at half time.
The deficit kept growing for the Knights in the third quarter. They were held to only 9 points, while the Indians racked up 15. This put Triad down 47-30 with one quarter to play.
In the final frame of the day, Triad did manage to pick up the pace by scoring 12 points. Unfortunately for them, that was nowhere near enough to keep up with the Indians offense explosion of 25 points. Mascoutah won by a final score of 72-42.
Triad did manage to spread out their scoring well, with five different players scoring more than two shots. Crook led the charge with 11 and Good tallied 10 points. Moss, Elmore, and Noyes scored 7,6, and 5 points respectively.
The Knights would finish the week out with what would be their most competitive game of the season. Originally scheduled to be a road game, the team hosted Marquette Catholic due to their gym having heating issues.
The Knights got off to a sluggish start as the visitors built a 7-2 lead. But Good and Yager went on a 6-0 run to put Triad up by a point. The Explorers retaliated with a 6-0 run of their own and Crook drained a three, ending the first quarter with Triad trailing 13-11.
Both defenses clamped down in the second quarter and slowed the pace of the game. Triad held Marquette to only 6 points, while they only scored two points of their own. This left the visitors up 19-14 at halftime. With a tally of 6 points, Good was the Knight’s leading scorer so far in the contest.
Triad’s deficit slowly grew as the third quarter started, building up to 26-18. But they would come roaring back with a 10-0 that was fueled by a pair of threes from Reid O’Brien and four points from Moss. At the end of the third quarter, the Knights led 28-16, their first lead since midway through the first quarter.
The Explorers hit a pair of threes early in the final quarter, but the Knights had scored seven points of their own to grow the lead to 35-32. Then with 1:20 left in the game, the visitors tied the game up at 38-38 by sinking a free throw. Yager would score two for the Knights and Marquette responded by hitting a free throw.
With a slim one point lead and just over 30 seconds left in the game, Triad’s Jake Stewart was sent to the free throw line for two shots. The sophomore came in clutch and hit both of the shots, putting Triad up 42-39. Marquette was sent to the free throw line on their next possession and again trimmed the lead to one point.
After the Knights missed a pair of free throws, Marquette was to inbound the ball with 1.4 seconds left in the contest. Their pass was sent to half court where it deflected off of one of their own players and then out of bounds. This gave the Knights possession where they held on until the clock ran out with them up 42-41.
Moss led the scoring effort for Triad with 11 points, as well as 6 rebounds. A trio of Knights that included O’Brien, Stewart, and Good all ended the game with 6 points of their own.
Triad’s upcoming games are listed below.
(A) 02/25/21 6:00 PM vs Jersey Community HS
(A) 03/02/21 6:00 PM vs Highland HS
(H) 03/04/21 6:00 PM vs Mascoutah HS