Knights control district after blowout win at Lewisburg

Tuesday, January 22, 2019
KJ Johnson led the Tigers with 27 points in Friday night’s 87-43 loss to Nolensville.
Tribune file photos by Anthony S. Puca

The 11-8 Nolensville Knights brought their fast-paced and intimidating big man Nate Bloedorn to Dottie Kelso Memorial Gymnasium at Lewisburg Friday night.

Bloedorn scored 18 points and was one of four Nolensville players in double figures that left the Tigers in their wake via an 87-43 win.

Nolensville remained unbeaten in District 12-AA play with a 4-0 mark, while the Tigers maintained second place at 3-1.

Marshall County with their own star, KJ Johnson, came into the game with a record of 9-10 and had eased by Forrest 77-68 last Tuesday, while the Knights beat Giles County 66-49 at Pulaski.

The tip-off won my MCHS resulted in the first basket of the game by Johnson, who was fouled on the shot and added a free throw.

Bloedorn responded with a basket for Nolensville before Johnson made a beautiful drive to the basket, where he switched the ball from his right hand to his left, banked the shot off the glass and through the net.

All of that while airborne.

Moves like that are few and far between in high school basketball, but not for the reigning Class 2A Mr. Basketball, who is averaging over 35 points per game this season.

Nolensville answered with a basket by Nathan Foutch and a 3-pointer by Reese Gilbert.

The Knights came up with a steal and a basket by Zach Campbell, plus a basket by Jaydin Watkins.

Johnson hit a three, and on the next trip down the court added another basket to make the score Nolensville 11, MCHS 8 at the 3:08 mark of the first quarter.

With the going underneath becoming physical both teams fought hard with Bloedorn making his presence known.

Dagon Stacy’s basket for MCHS and a basket by Nolensville’s Campbell wrapped up the scoring for the quarter with the Knights in front 16-15.

The second quarter began with an eight-point run by the Knights as three straight baskets by Campbell and two free throws by Bloedorn built their lead to nine points.

A basket by Bryson Hughes gave MCHS their first points of the quarter.

Two baskets and two free throws by Johnson and a basket by Keshun Gentry would be the only other scoring for MCHS in the first half.

Nolensville got on another roll to end the quarter as free throws by Bloedorn were mixed with baskets by Watkins and Foutch.

Malik Thomison had two points for the Tigers, who have two big district home games this week.

Fouls began to mount for MCHS as they tried to hold on.

Before the game stated Nolensville coach (Wes) Lambert stated, “We’re going to double KJ Johnson.”

The Knights followed the coach’s instructions, but Johnson still had 19 of MCHS’ 28 points.

Johnson’s teammates were changing their shots to avoid Bloedorn’s presence in the low post.

At the end of the first half, Nolensville had built their lead to 16 points at 44-28.

MCHS got the ball to begin the second half, but could not score.

Campbell and Gilbert scored baskets for Nolensville, then Gentry scored a basket for MCHS.

A block by Gilbert resulted in a turnover and on the other end, Gilbert popped a jumper.

A technical foul on MCHS’ bench and two free throws by Foutch added to the lead.

Bloedorn’s basket after the ball in completed the four-point play.

With Bloedorn’s presence in the low post being cemented by swatting balls away and causing altered shots, the Knights built their lead.

Two baskets by Johnson ended the third quarter with the Tigers behind 73-40.

The fourth quarter was more of the same as Nolensville piled it on as Marcellus Campbell’s three was the only points MCHS could muster in the quarter.

At the 4:37 mark the subs came in on both sides.

Johnson finished with 27 points for the night with the closest other Tiger only scoring four points.

If you love basketball, then you should come and see this young man play.

He’s everything you’ve heard and more with speed, ball handling, great court vision, and he can score with either hand.

Foutch had 20 points to lead all scorers, while Campbell (14), Gilbert (14), and Watkins (11) were all in double figures for Nolensville.

Nolensville 16 28 29 14-87

MCHS 15 13 12 3-43

Nolensville (87) Nathan Foutch 20, Nate Bloedorn 18, Zack Campbell 14, Reese Gilbert 14, Jaydin Watkins 11, Chris Rooney 4, Keidron Batey 2, Riley Byron 2, Devin Wilkins 2.

3-Point Goals (6): Campbell 2, Gilbert 2, Watkins 2.

Free Throws (17-23): Foutch 8-for-8, Bloedorn 4-for-9, Byron 2-for-2, Rooney 2-for-2, Watkins 1-for-2.

MCHS (43): K J Johnson 27, Keshun Gentry 4, Dagon Stacy 4, Marcellus Campbell 3, Bryson Hughes 3, Malik Thomison 2.

3-Point Goals (3): Johnson, Gilbert, Hughes

Free Throws (4-6): Johnson 4-for-6.

Halftime Score: Nolensville 44, MCHS 28.