Flora uses big night from Knapp, tops Fairfield
Junior guard drills home seven 3-pointers; Wolves win 20th game with 63-46 triumph

FAIRFIELD – With his teammates all feeling the ill effects of the flu this week – Flora junior shooting guard Paul Knapp had just the remedy for his buddies on Tuesday at Fairfield.

Take seven 3-pointers and call me in the morning.

The 6-foot-1 guard put on a clinic from the outside in the road win over the Mules as Flora improved to 20-5 on the season with a 63-46 victory at the Mule Barn.

Knapp – who has been lighting up scoreboards since his freshman season at Flora – made a winner out of head Coach Phil Leib's club in a matchup of former North Egypt Conference foes.

Not only did he make the Mules pay dearly from the outside (7-of-11 from behind the arc) he was part of a defensive effort that forced Fairfield into 19-of-43 shooting for the game.

“Paul (Knapp) just took over the game tonight. He has hit 13 3's in the last two games (six against Hutsonville-Palestine on Monday night) and some of those shots were from way out there,” said Coach Leib. “The flu bug has hit us pretty hard but Paul stepped up for us.”

Coach Scott McElravy's club committed nine first half turnovers (19 for the contest) while falling behind by a 29-20 margin at halftime.

A 16-8 third quarter advantage by Flora sealed the win and sent Fairfield's record to 14-13 overall.

Nick Painter finished with 11-points for Flora and teammates Brent Taylor and Austin Lewis chipped in 10-points each in the decisive win.

Fairfield was led by Tyler Hutcheson with 20-point gutsy points – most coming in the paint from a 5-foot-11 senior forward.

Andrew Atteberry added 10-points for Fairfield – who hung close to Flora in the early going.

Hutcheson scored twice early in the first frame and his tip-in of his own missed shot gave the Mules their final lead of the game at 10-8 with 1:12 left.

But Knapp drained his second 3-pointer of the first quarter a few seconds later and Painter grabbed his own board after a missed shot on a lob and stuck it back home reverse lay up style for a 13-10 lead at the first horn.

A 7-0 run early the second quarter gave Flora some space.

Knapp again nailed a 3-pointer – this time from the left corner – in the scoring jaunt and when Painter finished a transition chance for the Wolves with a midrange jumper from the right baseline – Flora forced a Fairfield timeout at 23-15 with 4:05 left before intermission.

Knapp scored six more points the remainder of the quarter on yet – you guessed it – another 3-pointer and 3-of-4 free throws and Flora was in command at 29-20 at the break.

Hutcheson tried to keep his team in the contest and scored six of his team's eight third quarter points.

His back door score on a pass from Zane McMeen cut the Mules deficit to 29-22 early in the third quarter.

But Painter came up with a steal and his pass to Knapp resulted in another bomb.

Knapp made it back-to-back downtown explosions on the next trip down the floor and within a few seconds – Flora led 35-22.

Painter added to the Mules kick with six points in the third quarter on drives to the basket.

Taylor got an assist from Painter for a lay in and teammate Lewis nailed one of his two 3-pointers during a 15-4 scoring crusade for a 44-26 lead with just under a minute left in the quarter.

Fairfield close the Flora lead to just 13-points twice in the fourth quarter but never got the Wolves in any danger.

“We knew that we really didn't have time to prepare for Fairfield but we told the kids to 'keep them in front of you' defensively and we did. We made it difficult for them to get good shots off,” added Coach Leib. “The staple for a team heading into the postseason is defense. Offense will come and go but your defense is something you want to establish.”

Coach Leib's bunch hit six-consecutive free throws in the final 1:15 to close out the win.

Flora finished 20-of-38 overall (52.6 percent) and were a very good 14-of-18 from the foul line.

The rebounding totals finished even at 18-each and Flora finished with just 12-turnovers.

“They played good defense tonight and that kind of rattled us and we gave up too many run out lay ups,” said Fairfield head coach Scott McElravy. “We knew he (Knapp) could shoot it from deep and he is a very athletic player. Painter is also very athletic and their length really bothered us and that took away our outside shots. They're a good team and they have 20-wins now.”

Flora finishes out its busy week by hosting Lawrenceville. With a win the Wolves will finished tied at the top of the Little Illini Conference with Casey-Westfield.

Fairfield has a pair of games remaining with a make-up game at home against Red Hill on Thursday and a home contest against Black Diamond Conference rival Carmi-White County with the winner of the game becoming the East Division champs.


Flora (63) – Taylor 5 0 0-0 10, Burgess 0 0 0-0 0, Leib 0 0 1-2 1, Greenwood 0 0 1-2 1, Knapp 1 7 7-8 30, Painter 4 0 3-4 11, Lewis 1 2 2-2 10. 2FG-11, 3FG-9, FT- 14-18, PF-14.
Fairfield (46)
– Atteberry 4 0 2-3 10, Hutcheson 9 0 2-3 20, McMeen 1 0 0-0 2, Bailey 1 0 1-3 3, Slover 0 2 0-0 6, Vaughn 0 0 0-0 0, Hutson 1 1 0-0 5, Skaggs 0 0 0-0 0. 2FG-11, 3FG-5, FT-9-14, PF-13.
Fouled Out
– None.
Technical Fouls
– None.