GALLATIN - Better execution down the stretch allowed Station Camp to pull out a close 52-47 victory over region foe Kenwood Tuesday night at home.
Senior Eli Thurston poured in a team-high 20 points, including a late layup and clutch free throw with just under one minute remaining to ice the win for his team. The three points from Thurston pushed the Bison lead from one point to four points, seemingly putting the game out of reach for the Knights.
Fellow senior Kavon Blankenship added 19 points, including 3-for-4 from the charity stripe and two layups in the late game situation.
“They really jumped in and didn’t miss a beat,” Station Camp head coach Seth Massey said of his two returning starters from last season. “They have been in big games and they played like you would hope two seniors with that much experience would. I thought Donne (Smith) did a nice job handling their pressure at the point. He was a bright spot for us tonight. He did a nice job in the full court and half-court to set us up in some things.”
Leading 45-42 following a Kenwood three-pointer from Kemari McIntosh, Station Camp capitalized on a Thurston layup, then back-to-back Knight turnovers, before Thurston scooped-and-scored another bucket from inside the paint.
Leading 48-45, Cameron Gerlach nailed one-of-two free throws for the four-point advantage with just under 40 seconds remaining.
From there Station Camp sank 3-of-4 free throws sealing the win and the 1-0 start to their season.
“I thought we stayed in it and continued to play even when things weren’t going our way,” Massey added. “The game was very tough and physical, but we finally started to attack a little bit and got some plays to go our way. Us finding a way to win is encouraging.”
For Kenwood, big man Scooter Williams was the highlight show putting in a team-high 20 points.
“Scooter is so big, physical, and can shoot, drive, finish, and pass,” Massey said of his opposition. “He was really kind of fun to watch play tonight.”
Kenwood head coach Jason James also mentioned Williams’ play as a highlight for his team.
“I thought he played well,” he said. “We depend on him a lot offensively and tonight he delivered.”
The game looked as if it would go the Knights way late, but untimely turnovers from the Clarksville school really cost them. In total, the Knights turned the ball over 16 times, something you cannot do if you want to win games.
“We turned the ball over way too many times tonight,” he added. “You can’t give a good team extra opportunities, especially in a game like this.”
The game wasn’t all negative for James, saying there are many positives to pull from this loss.
“I thought we guarded well tonight for the most part,” he added. “I thought we did a good job on (Kavon) Blankenship, who is a good player. There is still plenty to clean up but I’m happy with the way we competed. I’m not sure how good we can be but I was happy with the competition from our kids tonight.”
The Knights will be on the road at Hillwood on Thursday, Nov. 21 and the Bison will travel to Rossivew on Friday, Nov. 22.
Station Camp (52): Eli Thurston 20, Kavon Blankenship 19, Cameron Gerlach 8, Kheller Die 3, Alex Vaughn 2.
Kenwood (47): Scooter Williams 20, Kemari McIntosh 8, Malik Brooks 6, Jaylen Washington 5, Amari Kimball 4, Zak Kramer 4.