Kemarion Alston led Upson-Lee to its first victory of the basketball season with his 26-point night. Upson-Lee traveled to Lamar County for the non-region contest and defeated the Trojans 58-49 to improve to 1-2 on the season.
Upson-Lee took a few minutes to settle into the game as they played without TJ Searcy and Zerek Walker, who should both see primary minutes when they are both ready to go. Both teams began in man-to-man but eventually shifted to multiple looks. Alston picked off a pass at half court and turned it into two points with a right-handed slam before coming back down the court and drawing a foul on a bucket. The five-point run helped Alston get going for the Knights.
The Knights were allowing the Trojans to beat them on the first step on the perimeter and the Knights’ compensation led to too many fouls in the second quarter. Seven of the Trojans’ second quarter 10 points came at the charity stripe and Lamar County took a 29-24 lead into halftime.
Coming out of halftime, the Knights locked into a two-three zone and Alston began to take over the game. Alston went at the Trojans’ defense and drew three fouls in the first minute of the third quarter. His aggressive play led to 10 points in the quarter.
After the game, Coach Christopher Owens shared his halftime message to Alston, “I told him to play like he’s supposed to play. Kemarion is an uptempo type of player and when he’s playing like he’s supposed to play, he’s creating turnovers, he’s creating havoc for the opposing team’s offense, he’s getting into transition, and he’s making plays for his teammates. Kemarion can do a lot of things for this team”
Marcus Slaton saw increased minutes in the third quarter and made his impact rebounding and added seven points in the frame.
“He’s always going to rebound,” Owens said of Slaton's effort on the boards. “He’s going to do that well at a high clip. We just have to get him to finish up under the basket better.”
The two-three zone held the Trojans to just nine points in the third quarter. The Knights were able to exploit the Trojans’ inability to hit shots on the perimeter and their hesitance to attack the basket.
Slaton finished with 13 points, Keyston Smith added six, and Kordae Caldwell tallied five.
Upson-Lee will face Taylor County on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m.