The basketball season at Evans (4-2) started two weeks ago, but the sixth game of the year looked more like a season opener.
"Even though we've played five or six games already, this one was almost like our first game because we've got a huge core of our team back. They've only had four days of practice." Evans coach Kevin Kenny said.
Three Evans starters practiced with the team for the first time Monday. They were previously practicing and playing for the school's football team, which reached the second round of the state playoffs.
That season came to an end last weekend. The basketball season was already a week old.
In fact, the Knights had already beaten Harlem 57-55 in a tip-off tournament. But with at least five football players added to Evans' roster, Friday's game was like meeting for the first time.
"We knew it would be a totally different makeup. In fact, we didn't even look at that game film," Harlem coach Kim Chambers said. "We're set with what we're doing, and we're trying to play our game right now. We just didn't do a very good job tonight."
Three Evans football players made an impact on the basketball court. Brandon McCladdie led all scorers with 13 points. Trey Henderson added 10, while Jonathan Nicely had seven.
Despite the full roster for the first time this season, Evans struggled at times to get the ball up the floor against Harlem's pressure. Henderson and McCladdie, who spent part of the football season roaming the defensive secondary, had some trouble adjusting.
"It's hard because sometimes I was trying to play like I was still on a football field," Henderson said. "You have more space out there, but on a basketball court you have to be more controlled. We had too many turnovers."
Harlem (2-2) trailed 34-23 at halftime, but the Bulldogs climbed within three points on a pair of Cedric Boatner free throws late in the third quarter.
Evans' Deronte Williams was fouled and made the basket on back-to-back drives to give the Knights an eight-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Knights hit 26 of 37 free-throw attempts, most of them in the fourth quarter, to seal it.
Reach Billy Byler at (706) 863-6165 or firstname.lastname@example.org.