They may have taken nearly a month off from in-game action, but the John Paul II Golden Warriors are off and running in region play. Mark Knight poured in 23 points, and the Golden Warriors held off Isaiah Anderson and Hilton Head Christian Academy on Friday for a 48-38 road win to stay unbeaten in SCISA Region 4-2A.
The Eagles got the early jump in front of a packed gym, as big man Brady Bagenstose powered in a layup before Qayden Turner buried a three to take a 5-1 lead. But Knight quickly took over with his terrific defense, swiping the ball away on consecutive Eagle possessions and scoring at the other end. The senior guard was unstoppable any time he had the ball, dropping 10 points in just the first quarter to ignite a 17-2 JPII run.
The Golden Warriors stretched the advantage out to 11 points on a James Keefer floater, but Hilton Head Christian Academy stormed its way back thanks to the return of the sophomore standout Anderson. His outstanding rebounding and nine second-quarter points sent The Cage into a frenzy as the visitors went cold from outside, and Turner knotted the game late in the half on a pretty layup before Knight quickly responded on the other end to go back up 24-22 at halftime.
The Eagles immediately took back the lead, as Anderson showed off his range with a 3-pointer while John Paul II’s shooting woes continued. Anderson scored again on a putback to up the advantage to four, but a massive triple from Jackson Ogden turned the momentum over to the visitors.
The Golden Warriors found success getting to the free throw line with Knight and Ogden before Austin Floyd knocked down a three of his own to complete an 11-0 run and go up six points heading into the fourth quarter. Turner scored on a layup to trim the deficit to four, but the Eagle offense went cold down the stretch as Knight quickly rattled off four points to swell the lead to eight. The game was still in striking distance for the home team, but a late technical foul was too much to overcome as the Golden Warriors closed out the road win.
“Our defensive effort was the key to victory,” JPII head coach Mac Tamminen said. “Anytime we can hold a team to under 40 points, we have a chance. I’m extremely pleased with the effort.”
Knight was sensational for John Paul II, scoring a game-high 23 points and shooting a stellar 8-of-9 from the free-throw line alongside nine rebounds and four steals. Ogden put up a big 16 points including a pair of key triples with four rebounds and three steals.
Anderson posted a double-double in his first game back in the Eagle lineup after sitting out on Tuesday, racking up 20 points and 10 rebounds while Turner and Bagenstose added seven points each.
John Paul II (6-2, 2-0) battles Beaufort Academy at home Tuesday in a key region clash.
Hilton Head Christian (3-7, 1-3) plays its second game in two days Saturday in a home matchup with Calvary Day.
By Wes Kerr
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