BOYS BASKETBALL: KW holds off Curtis, grabs SPSL's No. 3 seed

  • BY Wire Service
  • Sunday, February 15, 2009 12:51am
  • Sports

The big man was down.

But Kentwood High's boys basketball team was far from out in a South Puget Sound League seeding game against Curtis of University Place at Auburn High on Saturday night. With star center and leading scorer Joshua Smith on the bench saddled with foul trouble late in the third quarter, Kentwood turned to point guard Tre Tyler.

As anticipated, the junior guard delivered.

Clinging to a 42-36 lead with Smith on the bench, Tyler hit a 10-foot baseline jumper, then followed moments later with a key 3-pointer off glass, helping the second-ranked Conquerors fight off the eighth-ranked Vikings en route to a 55-48 win.

With the win, Kentwood (17-5) snagged the SPSL's No. 3 seed to the West Central District III tournament. The Conquerors will play host to Auburn (13-6) at 7 p.m. on Thursday in the opening round of the tournament. The top six teams from the 16-team district field advance to state, which begins March 4 at the Tacoma Dome.

Tyler's performance against Curtis (17-5) was critical, Kentwood coach Michael Angelidis said.

“Tre is our second go-to guy,” Angelidis said. “I think he realized at the time that he had to step up and take some of that offensive burden. The other guys realized it, too.”

Indeed. Because with Smith stuck on the bench for part of the first half and much of the second half, Kentwood received a little production from everyone who stepped on the floor.

“It shows that (Joshua) really is not our whole team,” said Tyler, who finished with 12 points. “We can manage to keep the lead and wait for him to come back in.”

Which is exactly what the Conquerors did, turning a six-point lead late in the third quarter into a 51-40 advantage midway through the fourth. And they did it all without Smith.

“Josh is a very good player, but at times, I don't think the rest of our team has gotten the respect they deserve,” Angelidis said. “I thought we played very well without Josh in the lineup.”

That said, the 6-foot-9, 285-pound Smith certainly delivered when he was on the floor, scoring a team-high 20 points to go along with 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.

And while Tyler played a pivotal role, so too did Jason Boyce, who came off the bench to score 9 points. Meanwhile, Darrius Coleman and the Kentwood defense went into lockdown mode much of the second half, keeping the Vikings from getting any good looks.

Though Curtis cut the 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to 53-48 with 2:16 to play on a putback from Derek Van Essen, the Vikings wouldn't get any closer.

Kentwood 55, Curtis 48

Curtis 15 10 13 10 48

Kentwood 19 14 16 6 55

Curtis: C. Rasmussen 8, S. Langlow 10, Dominique Williams 4, Ven Essen 21, Doss 5, Lacy 0, Vaughn 0.

Kentwood: Smith 20, Tyler 12, Wilson 5, Boyce 9, M. Everette 2, Humphreys 0, Retz 0, Coleman 2, H. Everette 5.

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