Sharpshooting Spartans stagger Panthers

Knob Noster’s Iverson Sirom puts up a layup in the first half of the Panthers 65-47 loss to Richmond on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

KNOB NOSTER — Knob Noster raced out to an early lead but couldn’t hold on against Richmond on Tuesday, Jan. 21, falling 65-47 to the Spartans.

“It’s part of the process for us,” Knob Noster coach Mike Baker said. “I didn’t think we played extremely bad, but when you let a kid catch the ball and make seven three’s, you’ve got to do something different.”

The Spartans knocked down 13 3-pointers in the win with seven coming out of the hand of Dionte Marquez, who finished with a game-high 28 points.

“(Marquez) was hitting some shots way back,” Baker said. “We needed to make sure he didn’t catch the ball and then once he got going, he was going to make everything.”

The Panthers looked ready to knock-off the defending MRVC East champions, opening the game with an 8-0 run in the first two minutes of action.

Richmond clawed its way back to a 14-14 tie by the end of the first quarter.

“Richmond is 12-2 for a reason, defending champions and they acted like it,” Baker said.

Knob Noster junior Iverson Sirom put up eight points in the second quarter, but couldn’t keep the Spartans from overtaking the Panthers to lead 34-26 at halftime.

Sirom finished with 22 points on the night to lead Knob Noster. Richmond held Kellen Foster and Anthony Lopez in check, keeping them to nine and seven points, respectively.

“I thought Iverson played extremely well and they locked down Lopez and Foster, so we’ve just got to go back to the drawing board and work hard,” Baker said.

Knob Noster worked its way back within seven, 36-29, in the third quarter, but could draw no closer, going into the fourth quarter down 44-35.

Richmond opened the final frame with a 6-0 spurt and never looked back, amassing a 20-point cushion midway through the frame.

“They are a hard match-up for us with their big and three shooters,” Baker said.

The Spartans sank six of their 13 three-pointers in the final quarter to hand Knob Noster its third loss of the year at 10-3.

Knob Noster hosts Carrollton on Friday, Jan. 24.

Sports Editor Randy Speer can be reached by emailing randy.speer@dsjnow.com, by calling (660) 747-8123 or on Twitter at @RandySpeer_DSJ.

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