Local Sports Journal
Kent City became one of the first teams to strike gold in March with a 74-68 upset win over Grandville Calvin Christian on Wednesday. The victory places the Eagles in the Class C district finals on Friday against Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian.
The Eagles over came two Calvin Christian runs in each half. The Eagles also made their free throws in the final minutes to hold on to the victory.
First to step up for Kent City was Randy Thompson. After leading 23-19 at the end of the first quarter, Kent City found themselves down by eight points midway through the second quarter.
Thompson arrived just in time to drain three-straight 3-pointers and gave back the lead to his Kent City team. The Eagles took a 40-37 lead into the break.
“We talked about those runs and not to get emotional,” said Kent City coach Mark Thompson. “Play inspired but not so up and down you can’t dig yourself out.”
Kent City had to dig itself out once again after a rough third quarter when the Squires took another eight point lead. This time it was a 1-3-1 half court trap that the Eagles struggled to break but managed to trail 55-51 at the end of the third.
After trading baskets, Kent City defense stepped up. They were able to string together a series of stops that eventually led to a 68-68 tie with 1:40 left.
“We calmed down and took better shots and had stronger possessions,” said Thompson. “Jake Krueger came up with big rebounds on defense to hold them down.”
Nick Alt was able to give Kent City a 70-68 lead after he drained a shot and was fouled. A missed Alt free throw prevented the Eagles from the 3-point lead.
The Eagles lived at the free throw line as they sank 24 of 30. Down the stretch, their free throw shooting was just too much for Calvin Christian.
Krueger hit all four of his shots at the line in the last minute. Alt sank 5 of 6 in the waining moments of the contest.
“We lost to them twice this year in our conference (OK Silver) and both times we played, we had rough stretches,” said Thompson. “Everything had to go right for us and when they play like that, they make you look like you know what you’re doing.”
Kent City used a balanced attack with five players scoring in double figures.
Thompson finished with 19 points, 11 in the second quarter. Alt put in 16 points and was 8 of 10 from the free throw line.
Will Wilson and Jake Krueger both had 13 points. Krueger pulled down nine rebounds and had five assists and Wilson added four assists.
“Any time you beat Calvin Christian, you feel like you’ve beaten a very good program,” said Thompson. “It’s one of those things you talk about at practice. But until you go out and do it… It’s a very nice win for our program. It’s been a long enough time since we beat them.”