Keenburg boys, girls top   Rebels on Tigers' court

By Marvin Birchfield

STAR CORRESPONDENT
mbirchfield@starhq.com

   Keenburg mauled its way to a 68-39 victory on Thursday night as it contained the Rebels of Range by running the break and controlling the inside.
   The Tigers posted their fourth win, which puts them at 4-3 at the midway point of the season.
   "In this league it seems like Central and Unaka are a little bit above everybody, and then we're stuck somewhere in the middle, and I'm just trying to figure out how to get us up there with those teams," said Keenburg coach Scott Heaton.
   Keenburg streaked out to a 16-2 advantage in the first period of play, with the Tigers executing their offense off of defensive steals and the pass.
   "We ran the halfcourt trap, and when the boys finally get going with it, they can take off running," said Keenburg coach Heaton.
   A couple of fast-break points from Cody Marley came after Daniel Gardner and Josh Moore hit him with a pass down court.
   Range was only able to capture one field goal in the first four minutes of action, off a shot from Adam Kiser.
   A bucket inside by Brett Spates and a shot from Dustin Tolley off a rebound made it 16-6 at the end of the first period.
   The Rebels closed the gap to seven to start the second quarter, when Tolley made a steal and converted a lay-up and drew a foul for a three-point play.
   It was all Tigers from then on, as they went on a 12-3 run to close out the half with Josh Hardin scoring six of Keenburg's 12 points.
   "We put different boys at the point and see who's hot, and it took us about a quarter and a half, then we started running with it," said Heaton.
   The Tigers led 30-14 at the break with the Rebels having trouble in slowing down the Keenburg front court.
   In the second half, the Tigers started taking control inside with Gardner, who exploded to score 13 points in the third quarter.
   The Rebels captured a quick bucket from Matthew Oaks down low off a pass from Spates, but it was the rebounding ability and fast break that kept the Tigers on stride.
   Gardner dominated down low, as Range didn't have any answers or size to contain the big body inside.
   "Daniel has improved every game this year, and I'm happy with how he's been progressing. If he starts controlling the inside then anything is possible," said Heaton.
   Keenburg built a 54-22 advantage by the end of the third period, as Range was struggling with their guard play in getting the ball inside.
   The Rebels were not able to cut into the deficit much at all in the final period.
   Brett Humphrey stepped up to score eight in the final quarter with half of them coming from the free-throw line, as he had back-to-back steals and lay-ups for the Rebels.
   The Tigers had three players in double-digits, with Gardner finishing with 22 points and Marley adding 17, while Hardin ended with 13.
   Spates poured in 12 points for Range, while Humphrey added nine scores.
   "I thought the Range coach did a good job with his ball club, but at this level it is hard for any team to get wins and the most out of kids as possible," said Heaton.
   Lady Tigers 56
   Lady Rebels 25
   The Lady Tigers put away the Lady Rebels with a 56-25 win, as they built a 27-point advantage in the first half to grab their first victory of the season.
   Keenburg came out in the first period with Katie Harrell scoring seven points and Jessica Trivette adding four to grab a 11-2 lead.
   "The press made all the difference, and they gave 100 percent effort the whole game and played together as a team," said Lady Tiger coach Amy Harkleroad.
   The Rebels struggled on offense by acquiring just one field goal, which came from Brittany Renner.
   It was the Tiger offense finding the rythm in the second quarter, as Natasha Bunten scored 10 points, with Harrell adding six and five coming from Nicole Mann.
   "It seemed like we controlled the boards. We got a lot of second-chance shot the entire game," said Harkleroad.
   Keenburg had a 35-8 lead at the half, and continued to maintain its advantage through the third and fourth quarters.
   Natasha Carver scored seven points in the final quarter to lead the Rebels with 10 on the evening, while Tabitha Humphrey added six.
   The Tigers were led by Katie Harrell with 18 points, along with Trivette, who finished with 14 scores.
   "We had a lot of steals off the press which gave us easy baskets, and this was our first win on the season, so our girls were real excited," said Harkleroad.