York, PA -
A glance at Travis Knaub's stat line Tuesday night at Susquehannock wouldn't necessarily impress.
The Eastern York junior scored six points, grabbed four rebounds, plus a handful of assists and steals. But nearly all of his production came in the fourth quarter and each play on the basketball seemed to grow in importance as the Golden Knights (14-5, 10-2) pulled away for a 62-50 win that gave them a half-game lead in the YAIAA Division III boys' standings.
"You finally woke up for us, didn't you?" Eastern senior Dalton Reichard said afterward to his teammate. "He played great. That's his strength: driving to the basket. They put a bigger guy on out on him because we took all of our five guards, and was he just torching them."
It started early in the fourth quarter. Susquehannock, which trailed for most of the night and by as many as seven points, had picked up momentum.
The Warriors (13-6, 8-4) had pulled within 44-41 when center Justin McLee rebounded his own missed free throw and charged to the rim with his left hand for two. The play provided hope for a Susquehannock squad struggling without point guard Calloway Hatcher, who had just fouled out, but Knaub and Co. quickly eliminated any glimmer.
The 5-foot-11 guard denied the 6-1 McLee of an offensive rebound, forcing a jump ball. With the ball, he drove to the basket to push the Knights' lead to 48-41. He also fed Reichard, who scored a game-high 18 points, by slashing to the basket and pulling the interior defense away from the leading scorer.
Dalton Reichard, meanwhile, added a 3-pointer shortly after that to cap a nine-point run. All of it was made possible by a five-guard lineup.
"Once we got in a groove, it seemed like there were 10 of us out there for a stretch," Eastern coach Jon Reichard said. "They were all over the place, aggressive."
The Knights' reliance on the small lineup was perhaps the lone contrast from their previous meeting with Susquehannock, when the Warriors also needed to rally.
"We weren't able to punish them inside with that lineup on the floor," Susquehannock coach John Zerfing said. "They spread us out, and we had trouble guarding them."
Zerfing said lack of depth, using only seven players Tuesday, caught up with his players' legs tiring. The loss also hurt the Warriors because it virtually eliminates them from Division III contention with two games left.
Eastern, meanwhile, has won six of its last seven and now leads Bermudian Springs by a half-game with the Eagles looming as their regular-season finale next week. First, the Knights get a rematch Friday with York Suburban, the only team within the division to beat them this season.
EASTERN YORK (62)
Broguen Nicholas 2 3-4 8, Travis Solomon 2 0-2 4, Dalton Reichard 4 8-9 18, Cody Bollinger 4 2-2 12, Christian Buser 1 2-4 4, Grum Kebede 3 2-2, Jake Kessler 0 0-0 0, Travis Knaub 2 2-4 6, Conrad Rhein 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 19-27 62.
Calloway Hatcher 0 2-2 2, Tyler Brooks 2 0-0 6, Dan Ferraro 5 3-4 16, Tim Frey 5 3-5 13, Justin McLee 3 5-8 11, Bryan Kerr 0 0-0 0, Nick Tannura 1 0-1 2. Totals 16 13-20 50.
Eastern 14 9 18 21 -- 62
Susquehannock 11 10 16 13 -- 50
3-point goals -- Eastern 7 (Reichard 2, Bollinger 2, Kebede 2, Nicholas); Susquehannock 5 (Ferraro 3, Brooks 2).
JV score -- Eastern, 44-28.