Playing a top-10 team in Class AAAA, the Evans boys basketball team hung around for a while before losing to Jonesboro, 60-42, Monday night in the MLK Hoops Classic.
“It was a good experience for us, to play a team like that,” Knights coach Kevin Kenny said. “We kept it to a 10-point game for the most part.”
Evans (11-6) scored only 18 points in the first half, a solid defensive effort kept it in the game.
Damion Foreman 3-pointer early in the third quarter – Evans’ first 3 of the game – cut the deficit to eight.
The Knights wouldn’t get any closer.
Jonesboro’s Duby Okeke made two key blocks, the second coming right before a 3-pointer from Casey Wells, who hit three shots from behind the arc.
Evans committed costly turnovers and had some bad shots at important junctures.
Patrick Petty scored 18 for the Cardinals.
“Our flashes of good moments are going up and our flashes of bad moments are going down,” Jonesboro coach Dan Maehlman said. “Hopefully by the region tournament, we’ll be clicking on all cylinders.”
Evans’ Jacob Buchanan had a strong game in defeat, finishing with 18 points.
Buchanan didn’t shy away from attacking the interior defense and trimmed Jonesboro’s edge to 11 points four different times in the second half.
However, Evans’ hopes of keeping it close took a major blow in the waning seconds of the third quarter.
When Myles McDavid, who had 11 points, hit a 3-pointer, the Knights appeared to be in good shape to enter the final eight minutes down just 10 points.
But Jonesboro’s Daniel Peace – even with McDavid’s solid defense – drilled a long-range shot at the buzzer to push the lead back to 13.
Even with the loss, Kenny was pleased with his team’s effort and the crowd turnout for the four-game classic.
“I think it’s been a good tournament,” Kenny said. “Once we get the word out there, it’ll be even better next year.”