BICKNELL -- It took them two quarters to finally get untracked, but Class 2A No. 8 Eastern Greene put away host North Knox 64-49 here Saturday night.
"Aaron (Hall) had his kids ready and we knew that coming down on the back end of a road double weekend," Eastern Greene (5-0) coach Levi Carmichael said. "We knew North Knox came prepared and they gave us some different looks. It took us a while to get adjusted and once we settled down and played our game we were fine."
The adjustments he referred to took almost the entire first half, but how quickly they took effect in the second.
The third quarter saw the Thunderbirds allow just two field goals on their way to a 13-5 edge and a 40-32 advantage at the stop before exploding for a 24-13 margin in the final eight minutes to leave little doubt about the final outcome.
Leading the charge for the T-Birds, who off to their first 5-0 start since the 2010-11 squad rattled off a dozen straight to begin the year, was the senior duo of Kurtis Stille and Tyler Brough.
"Tyler pressed early and once he settled down and just did what we wanted him to within the offense he was fine," Carmichael said. "Kurtis just played his rear end off. He plays hard and good things happen to kids that play hard -- so it was great for Kurtis that he was able to step up and come through again tonight."
Fellow senior Nathan Sparks also ended the night in double figures with 10 points while Logan Frye and Briar Martindale both added six, Camden Sego four and Zak Eckerle two.
But it was the defensive effort of the entire squad in the second half that ultimately provided the spark and shut down a North Knox attack that finished the night shooting 46 percent from the field -- with the majority of their success coming in the first half.
The Thunderbirds also held a notable advantage on the boards hauling in a 29-18 edge, thanks in part to a game-high nine boards from Brough and eight from Stille.
"I thought our defensive intensity was pretty low in the first half, we were letting (Jordan) Meurer get too deep and we were losing (Jake) Alsman a lot on the drive," Carmichael said. "But in the second half we made some adjustments and our kids did a good job of executing."
Alsman led the Warriors with 17 (nine in the first half) while Meurer was limited to just three points.
Carmichael said despite the slow start and tough first half defensively, he saw many positives -- aside from the obvious -- and believes his team is making solid progress.
"The first two road games -- two long bus rides -- and our kids mentally were in the game and physically were ready," he said. "So we'll take them and we'll move on to tomorrow and try to get better next week."
EGHS won the junior varsity contest by a 49-19 score.
Cam Creager led the T-Birds with 15 points while Devon Veatch and Cole Chitwood added nine points apiece.
Nathan Eckerle threw in six points, while Yngua Jentz added four and Klint Stille three as additions from the C-team due to injuries for the Thunderbirds.
Trevor Yoho added seven while Colden Roberts finished with four, Alex Brough three and Logan Richardson two for EGHS.
The Thunderbirds will host Union in a Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference game at 6 p.m. Friday.
EASTERN GREENE (64) -- Briar Martindale 1-5 4-4 6, Kurtis Stille 7-11 0-1 14, Nathan Sparks 4-6 2-2 10, Logan Frye 2-7 2-2 6, Tyler Brough 6-11 8-13 22, Zak Eckerle 0-1 2-2 2, Camden Sego 2-2 0-0 4, Michael Hartman 0-0 0-0 0, Trevor Yoho 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-43 18-24 64.
NORTH KNOX (49) -- Jake Alsman 7-15 3-5 17, Cole Bond 2-6 0-0 6, Mark Martin 1-3 0-1 2, Christopher Graman 5-7 0-0 14, Jordan Meurer 1-3 1-2 3, Luke McKinnon 0-1 0-0 0, Jayce Rodrick 0-0 0-0 0, Shanson Lamb 1-2 1-1 3, Zach Dillon 0-0 0-0 0, Wacey Robertson 0-0 0-0 0, Cameron Smith 1-2 0-0 2, Jason Jobe 0-0 2-2 2, Chris Eubank 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-39 7-11 49.
Eastern Greene 14 13 13 24 -- 64
North Knox 14 13 5 17 -- 49
3-point shooting -- Eastern Greene 2-10 (Brough 2-4, Martindale 0-3, Frye 0-2, Eckerle 0-1), North Knox 6-14 (Graman 4-5, Bond 2-5, Alsman 0-2, Martin 0-1, Smith 0-1). Rebounds -- Eastern Greene 29 (Brough 9), North Knox 18 (Graman 6). Steals -- Eastern Greene 10 (Frye 5), North Knox 7 (Graman 3, Martin 3). Blocks -- none. Turnovers -- Eastern Greene 11, North Knox 17. Total fouls -- Eastern Greene 16, North Knox 19. Fouled out -- none. Technical fouls -- none. Junior varsity -- Eastern Greene 49, North Knox 19.