Hornets have no answer for Knights’ pressure

Kings ended first quarter on a 17-2 run and forced a frustrated Monroe team into 35 turnovers.

Tuesday night, it was the Monroe Hornets who were unfortunate enough to be in the Knights’ way.

Kings exploded out of the gate to a 23-6 lead and never looked back, cruising to a 69-33 win over the visiting Hornets.

Thanks to a high-pressure trapping defense, the Knights held Monroe (1-4) scoreless for a five minute stretch in the first quarter. Kings (1-1) made 10-of-12 field goals in the first eight minutes and ended the quarter on a 17-2 run.

“That makes you look like a pretty good team when you’re making shots at an 80 percent clip,” Kings coach Mike Stevens said. “But it was our defense that created our scoring opportunities.

“We closed out traps a lot better tonight, and the pressure and intensity we played with is the way that we have to play. We have a roster full of length and athleticism, and we need to use it.”

Monroe’s frustrations could be summed up in one line on the state sheet: the Hornets committed 35 turnovers.

“We had more turnovers than we did points,” Monroe coach Casey Popplewell said. “That’s inexcusable.

“Kings did things to us tonight that we hadn’t seen all year, and it affected us mentally and physically. Kudos to Coach Stevens and his program because that’s what we want to do to other teams. They frustrated us, but we have to have someone step up and be a leader on the floor, someone who will communicate and pick each other up when those things happen.”

Sam Thompson led Monroe with 10 points, all of them coming in the second half.

Kings was led by Zach Hilderbrand, who had 14 points and five steals despite playing on a severely sprained ankle suffered the day before in practice.

“It was vital that we got out to a fast start tonight,” Hilderbrand said. “It’s what we needed after playing so poorly against Loveland.

“This was a must-win, and it gives us confidence knowing that if we come out and take it to the other team with intensity, good things are going to happen.”

Jonny Brewster also scored 14 points while grabbing four rebounds to pace the Knights, who shot 70 percent (28-of-40) from the floor. Ben Glischinski and Jensen Gebhardt each scored eight for Kings.

Contact this reporter at (513) 696-4526 or shayes@coxohio.com.

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