HESPERIA — Kent City exploded out of the gate and sent the Hesperia girls basketball team rocking back on its heels right away, and finished the Panthers off with a 55-11 victory Friday night on the road in the Central State Activities Association Silver.

After the Eagles swept over the Panthers, 27-4 in the first quarter the trend had been set. The Eagles’ defense was even stronger in the second quarter as they swooped to a 9-0 advantage and soared to a 36-4 lead at the half.

Hesperia’s offense never could get on track, and Kent City further improved their lead with a 12-2 third quarter which ballooned their advantage to 48-6 going into the fourth period. Kent City had a 7-5 edge in the last eight minutes.

Emma Joppich led the Panthers with five points. She also grabbed nine rebounds, while Emmet Joppich added nine boards.

“Kent City is a well-coached team, a very efficient team,” said Hesperia head coach Vince Grodus.

“Their press and 3-point shooting ability make them deserving of their No. 2 state ranking.

“I was proud that our team continued to hustle and play hard the entire game.”

Kent City was led in scoring by Lexie Bowers who tossed in 31 points on 10 of 15 shooting from the floor, including 8 of 12 from 3-point distance. Denyle Bonter contributed seven and Hailey Kamphuis five.

Bowers also led the Eagles with seven rebounds. Bonter added four steals, Kamphuis four steals. Taryn Preston picked off 10 steals while adding three points and four rebounds.

Hesperia fell to 2-12 overall and 0-8 in the conference. The Panthers are off now until Friday, Feb. 18 when they travel to play Morely-Stanwood.

Kent City improved to 18-0 overall and 8-0 in the conference. The Eagles are next scheduled to play at Hart on Tuesday, Feb. 15.