Rebels subdue McEwen with defense, fast start

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JAMMIN’ TIME- McKenzie junior Marquez Taylor bolts through the middle of the lane for an impressive slam dunk against McEwen on Jan. 14.

McKenzie’s pressure defense and good perimeter shooting created a lot of problems for visiting McEwen in their
District 11A battle Friday night.
The Rebels captured a 69-33 victory.
It was a boys-only affair. The McEwen girls did not play because of COVID-19 protocol. The girls’ game will be
made up at a date and time to be determined.
The Rebels parlayed their full-court pressure defense and proficient three-point shooting into an 11-0 lead and
eventually a 20-5 advantage when the first quarter ended. From the outset, McEwen was forced to play catch-up.
Stafford Roditis had the early hot hand, landing a pair of triples in the first three minutes of the contest. His
second three prompted a Warrior time out. Garrett Wright’s free throw put McEwen on the board midway in the first
and was followed by Marcus Carter’s lay in. But wedged in between was a bucket from Rebels Zayden McCaslin
and a dunk from Marquez Taylor. The Warriors struggled to find a rhythm.
As the second quarter began, McKenzie embarked on a 13-3 run to lead 33-8. Rebel production came from all
over the floor. Carter, Caleb Coates and Brayden Grigsby each rang the bell in the final two minutes of the half to
cut into McKenzie’s cushion, but McKenzie’ Landon Brown and Zach Aird connected from the perimeter to negate
the Warrior flurry. McKenzie led 43-14 at the break.
McKenzie was 6-11 from the perimeter in the first half. McEwen was 0-9. Warrior turnovers and a lack of
second-chance rebounds also plagued McEwen.
In the third, Donald Dreaden and Ty Dreaden helped the Warriors find a bit of rhythm on offense. Carter also hit a
pair of threes and the Warriors outpaced McKenzie 14-13 in the third, but the Rebels’ lead was essentially
insurmountable at that point, 56-28. The Rebels were able to close out the game for their first district victory of the
season.
For the game, McKenzie hit 10 threes. McEwen managed two.
Carter led the Warriors and all scorers with 14 points. Garrett Wright had five, Caleb Coates four, William
McKinnon three, Grigsby, Paul Tolene, Donald Dreaden each had two and Ty Dreaden scored one. The Warriors
fall to 4-14 overall and 0-2 in the district.
Everyone who played for the Rebels, 14 in all, scored. Tate Surber was tops with 10, Bryson Steele and Roditis
each had eight, Taylor and McCaslin each had seven. The Rebels are 10-5 overall, 1-0 in 11A.
Weather permitting, McEwen visits Big Sandy for another district bout Friday, Jan. 21. McKenzie hosted Henry
County Tuesday and will head to Houston County Friday.

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