Knoch boys basketball flying high after signature win over Highlands

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Thursday, January 9, 2020 | 4:43 PM


Heading into the season, the Knoch boys basketball team had high hopes.

While it still is early, the Knights are living up to expectations.

Earlier this week, the Knights (8-1, 3-0) knocked off Trib HSSN WPIAL Class 4A No. 1 Highlands, 74-69, as they limited a team that has averaged just over 73 points a game to 39 points through three quarters.

While the way they played through the first three quarters said a lot about the Knights, the way they finished it said even more.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Knights led by 12. Slowly but surely, the Golden Rams chipped away at the lead and cut it to just one with two minutes remaining.

Rather than crumble under pressure, the Knights stood up and relied on their senior-laden roster to produce in crunch time as they held on for a monumental win nine games into their season.

“That’s why I didn’t call timeout when Highlands made their run,” coach Ron McNabb said. “I trusted them (his players) and you can’t replace experience. We have a great amount of it, and we have a great amount of basketball IQ too, and that’s invaluable for us.”

Seniors Scott Fraser and Jared Schrecengost and sophomore Ryan Lang scored in double digits Tuesday, which was a factor in the victory. But all season long, the Knights have received production from their entire rotation.

Fraser (17.4 points per game), Lang (16.9 ppg) and Schrecengost (13.2 ppg) are averaging in double digits. Senior Jake Scheidt is averaging 9.7 points, and two other players are averaging at least five. That type of production has made the Knights hard to stop this season.

“That’s been great for us,” Schrecengost said. “It makes teams unsure of who to guard with everyone scoring. Everyone can score, even the guys coming off the bench. So there’s no letdown.”

Every player in the rotation having the capability to score makes Knoch dangerous, but what’s allowed the Knights to take their game to the next level is the unselfishness that they display.

On multiple occasions Tuesday, the Knights gave up good shots for great ones by making the extra pass time and time again. It’s been a common theme this season, and that’s what McNabb believes has been the biggest factor.

“You play some teams that have one guy that’s averaging 27 and the rest are averaging three or four, so you can just take that guy away,” McNabb said. “Well, if you take one guy away from us, we still have four other guys that can score and do some damage.”

Along with knocking off Highlands, the Knights have won three of their games by 30 points or more, are averaging just over 70 points per game and have only allowed 53.1 points per game, which is the fourth-best in 4A.

While they are seeing success, the Knights still aren’t satisfied.

“We’re just coming in here and working as hard as we can every day, regardless of what other teams are doing,” Fraser said. “We are just coming into practice every day and working as hard as we can to get better.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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