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Brian Tannehill Edgewoods Carson Peevy (33) drives the baseline for a layup against Ezekial Acadmey Friday night.

The defending state champions played like it as Edgewood earned a 65-53 victory over the Ezekiel Knights in boys basketball action in front of the hometown faithful.

The 12-point margin is not indicative of how completely in control the Wildcats were. They steadily pushed the tally to more than 20 points before the starters handed the towels and the second and third teams took the floor.

“I didn’t think our last group did a great job on the plus/minus (scoring differential) and we talked about that after the game,” Wildcat coach Darryl Free said. “We’ve got to be able to put them in the game and have them come off the floor with the other team being zero in the plus and us never in the negative. We didn’t do a good job of taking care of the basketball when they exerted a little bit of pressure. But we were able to put the first team back in and play good enough to win the game.”

Robert Stewart and Carson Peevy led the Wildcats in scoring with 13 points each. Joseph Benton, who was especially strong in the second half, finished the night with 12 and Kaleb Varner posted 11.

“Like with the girls, we try to let our defense dictate and pace our offense. But we are a little better operating in the half-court,” Free said. “We still want to create deflections and get out and run. I don’t think we shot the ball particularly well (Friday night) but at the same time, we played well enough to win.”

The Wildcats ended the third period up 56-36 and the cast of characters began to change starting in the fourth quarter.

Behind the shooting of Thomas Boyd and Dawson Grey’s combined 30 points, the Knights chipped away at the lead then closed the gap to 10 points at 60-50 before the Wildcats put their scorers back on the floor and reasserted their dominance.