Originally created 12/31/06

Knights feed off crowd's energy



A Matt Clark dunk midway through the fourth quarter of Evans' 72-60 win over Lincoln County on Saturday night didn't exactly bring fans in the Evans student section to their feet.

They were already standing.

"That's one of the reasons we're so good here. It's a great atmosphere to play in," Clark said. "The fans get into it, the cheerleaders, the parents- everybody."

The fans had more reasons than a breakaway dunk and a victory to celebrate Saturday night. The win capped a perfect 3-0 performance in the Firehouse Subs Shootout Christmas Classic this week and was the 20th consecutive home victory for the Knights.

"I haven't researched it, but I'd say it's a record," Evans boys basketball coach Kevin Kenny said. "We remind them about it right before we go out of the locker room every game."

The streak dates back to the 2004-05 season when Clark and senior Brandon Durr were sophomores. Durr said no one then could have predicted an Evans team would emerge two years later with such a dominating record at home.

"We were always a good home team, but nothing like 20-0. That's a big milestone," he said. "It's always in the back of my mind when we're down. We don't want to be the ones to end the streak."

Evans found itself trailing in all three games during this week's Christmas classic. However, the Knights rallied each time for near blowout wins.

In Evans' most recent victory, the home team trailed Lincoln County 34-33 in the third quarter after a 10-0 Red Devils run. The two teams sat tied at 39-39 with four minutes left in the third quarter before Evans went on a 12-0 run to put the game out of reach.

Clark hit one of his two 3-pointers during the rally and finished with a game-high 20 points while Durr nailed three 3-pointers en route to an 18-point performance. Both were dripping with confidence after adding three more home wins in three days to their winning streak.

"After we beat Savannah at home at the beginning of the year, it was like we're unstoppable," Durr said. "When we see we're going to play somebody at home we know it should be a win."

To keep the streak going past 20, the Knights will have to get past an upcoming Region 3-AAAA schedule that includes Richmond Academy on Jan. 5 and Greenbrier on Jan. 26. Both teams have already reached the 10-win mark this season.

"We take it one game at a time. We've got ARC next Friday, and we know it's going to be tough to keep the streak alive against them," Kenny said.

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 863-6165 or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com.