Parker builds big lead, hangs on to down Lancers
The 6-foot, 5-inch Parker High senior also knew his Vikings desperately needed a win in Big Eight Conference boys basketball.
So, much like the first meeting against the Lancers this season, Knutson took advantage of his opportunities inside to score 34 points and lift Parker past La Follette, 74-70, to end a four-game losing streak.
"It was a really big win for us," said Knutson, who made 11 of his 19 shots, including three three-pointers. "Deep down, we believed in ourselves."
In a game that had 10 lead changes and eight ties, Parker (8-11, 6-9) broke away from the Lancers (2-17, 2-13) in the third quarter behind 17 points from Knutson for a 54-48 lead.
Knutson made five of his seven shots in the second half and nine of 11 free throws to help Parker break free from a 33-33 halftime tie.
"We made an effort to get the ball to Creed, and he was outstanding," Parker coach Ryan Masterson said.
Knutson, who had 27 points against La Follette earlier this season, capped a 12-2 Parker run to start the fourth quarter with two free throws for a 66-50 lead with five minutes remaining.
La Follette managed to chip away at that lead after switching to a full-court trapping defense that forced six Parker turnovers in a frantic finish. The Lancers pulled within 70-66 on Nygel Drury's jumper with 1:07 remaining, and Matt Hunter's rebound putback narrowed the gap to 71-68 with 30 seconds left.
But after getting fouled in the backcourt, Parker's Andrew Somerville made two free throws with 29 remaining. Knutson then blocked Demetrius Brazzel's rebound putback attempt before getting fouled and pushing the Parker lead to 74-68 on a free throw with 16 seconds left to close out the win.
"We got a little rattled and lost focus there at the end," Knutson said. "But we ended up pulling it together and kept our cool."
It helped that the Vikings made 15 of their 18 fourth-quarter free throws as La Follette struggled all night with fouls and finished with 28. Parker took advantage by making 29 of 41 free throws overall, while La Follette was 13 of 24.
"We had too much foul trouble," La Follette coach Reggie Williams said. "But you can't give up 74 points and expect to win."
Somerville added 19 points for Parker and made seven of his eight fourth-quarter free throws.
Taylor Carlson led La Follette with 24 points, including five of the seven Lancer three-pointers. Brazzle added 17.
"We played 30 minutes of good basketball," Masterson said of the 32-minute game. "That last stretch got a little crazy, but we have to learn how to win, and LaFollette did not give up. I'm really proud of our kids."
PARKER 74, LA FOLLETTE 70
Parker (74)—Somerville, 3-12-19; Schroeder, 0-2-2; Albeck, 2-4-8; Knutson, 11-9-34; Lloyd, 3-2-9; Hyde,1-0-2. Totals: 20-29-74.
La Follette (70)—West, 3-0-7; Carlson, 9-1-24; Hunter, 2-4-9; Brazzel, 6-5-17; Drury, 3-4-10; Saunders, 0-3-3. Totals 23-13-70.
Parker 15 18 21 20—74
La Follette 16 17 15 22—70
Three-point goals—Parker 5 (Somerville, Knutson 3, Lloyd), La Follette 7 (Carlson 5, West, Hunter). Free throws missed—Parker 12, La Follette 11. Total fouls—Parker 23, La Follette 28. Fouled out—Schroeder.