PEARCY, Ark. – Lake Hamilton’s boys continue to live and die by the 3-pointer until they get healthy.
Sophomores Zac Pennington and K.J. McDaniel converted nine of the Wolves’ treys Monday night at the Wolf Den to rally Lake Hamilton past Nashville, 71-52. The Wolves improve to 4-4 with the win and will be back in action Tuesday at home against Centerpoint.
“It is live and die by the three right now, because our big guys have been hurt,” said winning coach Scotty Pennington. “We were cold in the first half, but I was proud of Zac for stepping up in the second half and getting us the lead. Zac has been pretty consistent for us this year, and is doing a good job for a sophomore.”
Zac Pennington’s 3-pointer sparks rally
Nashville led by as many as nine in the first half, settling for a 30-27 lead at intermission. The Wolves tied the game at 32-32. Pennington gave Lake Hamilton its first lead (35-34) with the first of five second half 3-pointers. He finished with six treys and a game-high 24 points. McDaniel buried three treys, finishing with 14 points and 12 rebounds. The Wolves finished with thirteen 3-pointers.
“K.J. had a great summer in AAU ball,” said the elder Pennington. “He has some college interest. He’s been struggling to this point. Tonight he finally hit some shots which was big for us. We need him to step up, and it was nice to see him play well.”
Coach Pennington is optimistic about getting 6-4 junior post Chase Jessup back from a football injury soon. He could possibly be back Tuesday. Jessup’s backup (6-4 Destin Rhodes) has not played this season, but is expected back when conference play begins.
Smith, McDougal contribute for Wolves
Elijah Smith and Hayden McDougal also contributed big for the Wolves, who led by as many as 26 in the fourth quarter. Both Smith and McDougal scored 10 points each.
Lake Hamilton’s success in the final two quarters could be traced to Pennington’s decision to switch defenses. The Wolves played zone in the first half, but surprised the Scrappers by playing man-to-man in the final 16 minutes.
“We had been struggling in man because of our size, but tonight we did a better job of rebounding,” said Pennington. “Gavin (Robbins) was limited tonight because he got in foul trouble, but he did a good job when he was on the floor. He’ll be a power forward when we get everybody back. He shoots the ball well, and was the leading scorer for these juniors in junior high.”
Lake Hamilton is also scheduled to play Kirby at home Wednesday, with tipoff at noon.