Elliott County's Timmy Knipp, who led the state in scoring with a 30-point average last winter, is showing a more diversified game this season.
Through the Lions' first six games — all victories — the 6-foot-8 senior is averaging a neat triple-double: 25 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists.
But the kid can still light up the scoreboard like a pinball machine as he showed while leading Elliott County to a 73-59 victory over Knox Central in the first round of the Republic Bank Holiday Classic at Lexington Catholic Sunday night.
After Knox Central cut a double-digit deficit to 52-49 in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, Knipp went on a tear. He scored the Lions' next 15 points to push their lead to a safe 67-55.
Knipp got his points in a variety of ways, including a falling-down three-pointer, an old-fashioned three-point play, a power layup and a mid-range jumper.
He finished with 32 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and four blocked shots.
"Timmy stepped up big when we needed him," Elliott County Coach Greg Adkins said. "If I had to ask a player to make a play, not necessarily score the ball, I don't know if there's anybody better that I've been around than him."
Knipp didn't realize he had 15 consecutive points for his team. "I was just out there playing," he said.
Knipp, who has signed with Eastern Kentucky, knows he doesn't have to score as much this season because his supporting cast has improved.
That includes 6-7 senior post player Jacob Ison, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds against Knox Central.
Daniel Fraley, who has emerged as a reliable long-range shooter, had 10 points.
The Lions were without senior point guard Cody Nickell, which meant Knipp took over as the "point forward." It's a position he can handle as a scorer or passer.
"I like to take people off the dribble the best because I feel it's a matchup in my favor. If they try to play me tall, I can go around the guy. If they play me short, I can shoot over the top with my size."
Knipp has plenty of big-game experience, too. He was a key player on Elliott County's 16th Region championship teams in 2008 and '09.
Last season, he was the lone holdover from those Sweet Sixteen teams.
"We put Timmy in a lot of tough situations because it took time for us to mature as a team," Adkins said.
"Jacob, Daniel and everybody else has improved, so Timmy doesn't have to score like he did last year."
But when the occasion calls for Knipp to score the ball, he can still do it better than just about anybody.
ELLIOTT COUNTY (6-0) — Knipp 32, Ison 18, Fraley 10, L. Nickell 5, Elliott 6, Flanery 2.
KNOX CENTRAL (3-6) — T. Canady 10, Barger 8, Kelly 4, Achenjang 3, J. Canady 12, Merida 10, Barrett 8, Wilburn 2, Stewart 2.
Elliott County 21 22 9 21—73
Knox Central 10 23 14 12—59