No. 1 Knoch boys overcome slow start, pull away from Freeport

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 | 11:00 PM

It took a half, but the Knoch scoring machine finally got in gear in the third quarter.

The Knights, the Trib HSSN’s No. 1-ranked boys basketball team in Class 4A, scored 27 points in each of the final two quarters Tuesday night to post an 83-59 victory at Freeport.

It is the third time in the past five days Knoch (11-1, 5-0) has scored at least 80 points.

Scott Fraser led the way for the Knights with 27 points — 18 in the second half — and Ryan Lang scored 16 with the help of four 3-point field goals.

Knoch led 29-24 at the half. Freeport led three times in the first half.

“The first half, we just didn’t play well,” Knights coach Ron McNabb said. “I give Freeport credit. They made us a little uncomfortable. We didn’t play well, and we knew it. We didn’t have to read them the riot act. We just told them a couple things, and they really hunkered down.”

Ryan Lang came out and made a pair of 3-pointers in the first 34 seconds of the third quarter. Brady McKee followed with five consecutive baskets, and Knoch was on its way.

Freeport fell to 3-8 overall, 1-4 in Section 1-4A.

“That’s been our M.O. this season, unfortunately,” Freeport coach Wayne Greiser said. “We battled back the first half after digging ourselves a hole. We talked about the first four minutes being pretty important, and it went the wrong way as they got the big lead.”

McKee’s flourish gave the Knights a 45-31 lead halfway through the third quarter. Knoch ended the surge with a pair of 3-pointers by Fraser.

“When we came together and got collected, we were ready to go,” Fraser said. “We’ve always had great confidence. We’re going to keep playing like we have and keep getting better in practice and in games.”

Also scoring in double figures for the Knights was McKee with 13 and Jake Scheidt with 12.

“That’s how we’ve been all season,” McNabb said. “We have four guys averaging in double figures. Teams got to pick their poison against us.”

Fraser’s three-point play 12 seconds into the fourth quarter gave Knoch a 20-point lead for the first time. The 6-foot-4 senior scored 10 points in the fourth.

“They’re a talented team,” Greiser said. “They have five guys who can shoot out there. It’s almost like five of the same guy out there. It’s hard to find a weakness. Our guys gave us all they could. That’s all we can ask.”

It was Knoch’s first game since attaining the top ranking.

Said Fraser: “It’s nice to be recognized and be at the top, but No. 1 rankings aren’t what we’re going for this year. It’s nice to be there, but we want to go further.”

Sophomore Vinnie Clark led the Yellowjackets with 18 points, 10 in the final quarter. Aiden Skradski chipped in with 11.

Greiser was happy with the performance of freshman Parker Lucas, who scored eight, all in the second half, in his first varsity start.

Sophomore Matt Aulicino missed his second straight game with a knee injury, and Nolan Plocki remained sidelined with a stress fracture in his leg.

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