Knoch seniors step up in win over Burrell

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Tuesday, January 26, 2021 | 9:39 PM


The Knoch Knights were celebrating their seniors on Tuesday night as they hosted Section 1-4A rival Burrell. Their seniors stepped up big time in a 55-53 victory.

Senior forwards Zach McMillen and Tyler Buterbaugh scored 11 apiece and Buterbaugh drilled three fourth-quarter 3-pointers to push the Knights (3-3, 3-1) ahead as they never looked back and locked up their third section win of the season. 

“Our two captains coming up big and Tyler hitting three huge 3-pointers in the second half for us, that was great and they’ve been great leaders all year,” Knoch coach Alan Bauman said.

Knoch junior Ryan Lang led the Knights with 22 points and Burrell’s Brandon Coury led the Bucs with 18. Donovan Callahan also added 16 for the Bucs (4-4, 1-3).

Although the Knights came out on top, it was a close game throughout.

After starting five seniors on senior night, the Knights entered their regular starters partway through the first quarter and intensified their effort on the defensive end.

Behind a seven-point first quarter from Lang, and another four from McMillen, the Knights built a seven-point lead after one. But Burrell never went away.

Behind Coury, the Bucs outscored the Knights 22-13 in the second quarter and flipped the script. After trailing by seven points, the Bucs scored six straight midway through the quarter. Then, with just over a minute remaining in the half, they took a 27-26 lead when Tajuan Degore hit a pair of free throws.

The Bucs extended the lead to four, but Knoch’s Keegan Fraser, who scored 11 points as well, hit a buzzer-beating layup to cut the lead to just two points heading into halftime.

“We lost focus defensively and we started focusing on what was being called and what wasn’t being called,” Bauman said. “We weren’t communicating either and Burrell is a good team and they took advantage of that.”

For much of the third quarter, the teams went back and forth as they looked to establish a rhythm. But the defensive effort on both sides kept it a low-scoring affair, and Bauman liked what he saw from his team after challenging them in the locker room.

“We kept talking about getting stops, and we have a terminology called ‘Get a kill,’ which is getting three stops in a row,” Bauman said. “We just kept referencing that, and we started to grow up a little bit tonight.”

Then, it became the Buterbaugh show. Even though he missed a few opportunities throughout the game, Buterbaugh kept shooting.

He hit his first three with 6:31 to go in the fourth quarter to give the Knights a 44-43 lead and they continued to pour it on from there.

“I was waiting all game for one to drop, and I don’t know why they wouldn’t fall half the time, but you just have to keep shooting and have confidence in yourself,” Buterbaugh said.

The Bucs continued to stay in the game though and with just over a minute left, Donovan Callahan hit a layup to pull the Bucs within one point at 52-51. But the Knights were able to hit free throws late and lock up a crucial win.

“This is huge and it’s also a section win, so every win is big,” Buterbaugh said.

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

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