In Saturday's Region 2-AAAAA matchup between Evans and Warner Robins, the Knights (23-5) defeated the Demons (14-12) in impressive fashion. The 80-63 victory, secured a third place (nothing to be ashamed of) region finish. The third place regional finish placed them behind an athletic first-place Northside team (led by 6'10" Division-1 commit, Christian Kennedy) and a Jones County squad led by 6'9" Florida State commit, Jarquez Smith.
In a pre-game conversation with Evans' head coach, Kevin Kenny, coach Kenny felt his team could match-up will with Warner Robins down low. He also stressed the importance of containing Warner Robins' PG, Juvuan Shine (who averaged over 25 for the tournament).
The conversation with Coach Kenny proved accurate.
The Knights won the boards from the tip-off, led by Jacob Buchanan and Matt Epps. Mix Evans' rebounding advantage with their smothering defense (causing 9 1st qtr turnovers), and before you could get comfortable in your seat the Knights had a 25-9 1st quarter advantage. If you looked away for a second, you would have missed an Evans' fast break point off of a steal. Patrick Lawrence had eight early points, including back-to-back three-pointers to give Evans the momentum that they took into the halftime break. At the half, Jacob Buchanan led the Knights with 12 points, Matlin Marshall tallied 11 and Patrick Lawrence scored 8.
The second half was another impressive display of basketball by the Knights. In a post-game interview with Jacob Buchanan (see video below), Buchanan said that one of the 'keys to victory' was, "limiting Warner Robins' supporting players' roles (Shine being the star) and limiting the second-half run by the Demons." Buchanan hit the nail on the head.
Warner Robins' point-guard, Juvuan Shine scored 32 points (over half of his team's total), while no other player could get in any scoring rhythm. With an impressive back-to-back-to-back three pointers from Shine, the Demons went on a run to cut the lead to ten points. But just like Buchanan stated, the Knights fought back with a run of their own. Damion Foreman provided a 'calm and collected' answer to the Demons' full-court press. Buchanan also took three charges in the game (his tournament average) in key moments to steal any Warner Robins' momentum.
Matlin Marshall led Evans' scorers with 22 points, Buchanan tallied 19 points while grabbing 10+ rebounds, Lawrence scored 18, and Damion Foreman finished with 11 points.
Evans will travel to Jenkins (Savannah) on Wednesday (TBD) to play the Jenkins High School Warriors in round 1 of the State Playoffs.
Watch the highlights above to see how Evans was able to defeat Warner Robins to lock up 3rd place.
Post-Game Interview With Jacob Buchanan