The Albany Hornets made a cold night’s trip to Baton Rouge on Friday, only to get burned by their own cold shooting, and Episcopal’s defense as the Knights claimed a 49-32 win in a nondistrict boys basketball game at Episcopal.
After a sluggish, low-scoring first half, Episcopal opened a 12-point lead after three quarters, then held off an Albany fourth-quarter rally to coast to the win. It was the first time this season that Albany (12-6) of District 8-3A had been held under 50 points, and Episcopal coach Chris Beckman said his team’s defense was the game’s highlight.
“I thought we played outstanding defense,” Beckman said. “We’ve kind of been struggling defensively and scoring more, but we held them to 32 points, so I’m pretty proud of that defensive effort.”
Beckman said Spencer Kleinpeter, Chris Beckman Jr. and Jackson Davis missed the last two days of practice.
“They’ve been out sick, and for them to come out and play with that kind of effort is good for them and for the team,” he said.
Kleinpeter led all scorers with 21 points, scoring eight of his team’s 12 in the first quarter and adding nine in the fourth.
Five of his points came in a row midway through the fourth quarter when Albany got a steal and a layup from Sean Sykes to cut the lead to 37-30.
Sykes connected on a driving layup, followed by a three-point play on another drive, to quickly boost the lead back to 12, and Episcopal (15-2) went to a ball-control offense to ice the game.
Sykes had 10 points to lead the Hornets, followed by Justin Thompson with seven.
Beckman Jr. and Kevin Tripeaux each had nine points for the Knights with one 3-pointer apiece.
“Our defense played well, but we just couldn’t put the ball in the basket tonight,” Albany coach Chris Carter said. “We had no energy at the get-go. It’s all about attitude. You’ve got to respect the ball, get a quality shot every time down and not turn the ball over.
“We couldn’t get to the (free-throw) line, and that’s the recipe of playing on the road, to get to the free-throw line.”
Neither team spent much time at the free-throw line in the first half. Kleinpeter was 2-for-3 for the Knights, and Albany didn’t shoot a free throw as led 19-14 at halftime.
The teams were whistled for 22 fouls in the second half, but the Hornets shot only 6-of-14 while Episcopal made 10-of-14.
“It was a good team effort, and they’re a good team to play, a good quality 3A team,” Beckman said. “They’re big and strong and athletic, and I was worried about giving up a lot of second shots, but we did a good job of blocking out. Not only our post players, but our guards, Spencer (Kleinpeter) and Chris (Beckman) had a lot of rebounds and we held them to one shot.”
Carter was aware of Episcopal’s rebounding success, and once again pointed to attitude.
“We’ve been getting outrebounded all year,” he said. “It’s a matter of want-to. You can’t jump with every team, and you’ve got to put a body on a body.”