FORT DEFIANCE — In spite of surrendering a career-high 41 points from Fort Defiance junior Ryan Cook, the Turner Ashby Knights picked up a hard-fought 64-61 win over Fort Defiance on Monday night.
Cook was unstoppable and it took 14 three-pointers by the Knights to survive the Cook onslaught.
“That’s incredible,” said Fort Defiance High School head coach Brandon Fulk, referring to Cook’s big night.
It looked like a high-scoring contest early as the Knights’ raced out to a 24-18 lead after the first quarter.
Cook scored all of the Indians’ points in the period.
But the Knights lit it up from beyond the three-point arc. They scored 42 of their total from three-point land.
The defenses settled in the second quarter as Turner Ashby took a 35-27 lead at the half after a three-pointer by Collin Brunk.
The Knights continued their hot shooting in the third period, hitting back-to-back threes to open up a 43-30 lead midway through the quarter.
But Fort’s Vincent Sipe and Cook led the Indians’ charge back into the game and by the end of the third TA led 53-46.
This set up a frenetic finish as the Indians got within four (55-51) on an assist from Evan Sutton to Sipe.
The Knights kept their poise and withstood a last-ditch effort by Cook and the Indians to steal the game at the end.
Cook’s bucket with 39 seconds to play reduced the lead to 63-61 and gave the Fort a final opportunity.
Grant Swinehart made one-of-two free throws for the final score of the game as the Knights’ had fouls to give and used them to take time off the clock.
Finally, with seconds ticking down, Cook launched a heavily-guarded three from past the top of the key which clanged off the rim.
The Knights inbounded the ball with one second remaining and, although Sipe intercepted the pass, he was too far away to get off a good shot.
“[Turner Ashby] deserved to win,” Fulk said. “They shot really well and our defense was exposed. Our emotion was a big disappointment. Offensively, we were out of sync.”
Sipe finished with 15 points for the Indians (4-13). The loss broke a three-game winning streak for the Indians.
Ethan Gerber led the Knights with 19 points, while Spruhan scored a dozen and Orion Angelopoulos chipped in with 10.
The Indians get back into Shenandoah District action Tuesday, hosting Riverheads.
“That will also be a challenging game as they have a lot of shooters, too,” Fulk said.
Turner Ashby 64, Fort Defiance 61
Turner Ashby 24 11 18 11 — 64
Fort Defiance 18 9 19 15 — 61
Turner Ashby (64)
Brunk 3 0-0 9, Garber 2 1-1 6, Gerber 7 2-3 19, Snow 1 0-0 3, Griffin 2 0-4 4, Swinehart 0 1-2 1, Angelopulos 4 0-0 10, Spruhan 4 0-0 12 .Totals 23 4-10 64.
Fort Defiance (61)
Sipe 6 0-0 15, Jones 0 2-2 2, Sutton 0 0-2 0, Horning 1 1-2 3, Cook 17 2-4 41. Totals 24 5-10 61.