Kent City girls crush Covenant Christian 69-23 in the Division 3 regional finals, move on to state quarterfinals on Monday

By Andrew Johnson
LocalSportsJournal.com

GRANDVILLE – The state tournament is supposed to get more difficult as teams advance through the brackets, but someone forgot to tell that to the Kent City girls basketball team.

The Eagles have been blowing out opponents all season, and that continued on Wednesday night when they throttled Grand Rapids Covenant Christian 69-23 in a Division 3 regional championship game at Calvin Christian High School.

Kenzie Bowers looks to her teammates after making a play for Kent City. Photo/Jason Goorman

The undefeated Eagles are now 19-0 on the season. They will face Schoolcraft at 7 p.m. on Monday in the state quarterfinals at Portage Northern High School. The Eagles  lost to Pewamo-Westphalia in their last visit to the quarterfinals in 2018, and they will be playing hard for a different outcome this time,

“It’s certainly exciting,” said Kent City head coach Scott Carlson about the display his team put on in the victory. “We’ve been shooting for this all year. We want to make deep tournament runs and we’ve had some heartbreaking losses (in prior seasons), so it’s good to get out of regionals. We played really strong tonight”

The domination started from the beginning on Wednesday with the Eagles leading 15-6 after one quarter.

Senior Jenna Harrison had six points in the opening quarter while senior Kenzie Bowers had five and freshman Maddie Geers added four.

The Eagles extended their lead in the second quarter by outscoring Covenant Christian 16-5. Kent City led 31-11 at halftime.

Bowers and junior Emma Geers each had four points to lead the Eagles in the second quarter.

Taryn Preston squares up to the basket for the Eagles. Photo/Jason Goorman

While the Kent City offense shined all night, the third quarter was by far the best, when they accumulated 24 points. Sophomore Lexie Bowers led the way with 11 points, including three triples.

Kent City had five different players score in the third quarter, and led 55-17 headed into the fourth.

With a running clock in the fourth quarter, Kent City still managed to outscore Covenant Christian 14-6 to clinch the regional championship trophy.

Senior Jenna Harrison led the Eagles with 20 points, while knocking down six three-pointers.

“It felt good,” said Harrison about her night. “Once you hit the first shot, you just know it’s going in after that.”

Lexie Bowers finished with 14 points on the night while Taryn Preston and Maddie Geers each totaled 11. Kenzie Bowers finished with nine points.

The balanced scoring served as a warning for future Kent City opponents – they can’t just focus their defense on star Kenzie Bowers, a senior with more than 1,500 career points, because the Eagles have all sorts of weapons.

“She’s got help all around her,” Coach Carlson said. “Everyone on the team can shoot and they all got the green light to shoot, like we saw tonight.”

The Eagles can also play defense, as they demonstrated by forcing many of Covenant Christian’s 25 turnovers.

“They executed everything we asked them to,” Carlson said about his team’s defensive effort. “Our defense is now at a level I’m excited at.”

The Eagles hope to maintain their dominance and continue their postseason run beyond Monday, and win the state championship they’ve been hunting for the past few years.

“It feels great,” said Lexie Bowers about getting the seniors – including her sister Kenzie – another regional title. “I’ve dreamed about this since I was a little girl. Getting to where we are is really important. I get to play with my sister and the seniors at least one more time, so it’s special.”

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