KINGMAN - If the Kingman Academy boys team had a fever Monday against Flagstaff Coconino at KAHS, it was one they needed to break rather than being on fire. At the end, the Tigers did break it by ending the game on a 10-2 run and holding off the Panthers, 60-47.
"I don't know what it is," said KAHS coach Bryant Morrison. "We shoot really well in practice. I tell them to keep firing until they miss six in a row."
It took Coconino (0-2) just one minute to jump out to a 5-0 lead. After tying the score 8-8 midway through the first quarter, KAHS (2-0) went cold again and the Panthers led at the quarter's end, 16-12.
Coconino extended its lead to seven in the second quarter and led by five halfway through when the hot Tigers showed up again. This time KAHS ended the half on a 12-4 run to take the lead into halftime, 29-26. The Panthers were beginning to have problems with KAHS's big guards, Lance Martin and Tarik Skubal. Martin is six feet four inches tall, and Skubal is six-three.
"Lance started to take over," Morrison said. "He needs to understand that when he is in the key no one can stop him because he takes it up so strong."
Both can get to the basket, which they did frequently. Skubal finished with a game-high 21 points and Martin scored 15.
"They were smaller than us," Martin said. "We're pretty strong guards, and we took advantage of what we had."
Breyden Potter added eight points for KAHS and pulled down 17 rebounds. Henry Chinyere and Chris Pfeiffer each had six, and Caleb Boyett and Austin Tomlinson each contributed two.
The third quarter began as if the Tigers were rid of their fever for good. They opened with an 11-0 run for a 14-point lead, 40-26. But the diagnosis of a broken fever was premature, as Coconino end the quarter on an 11-5 run of its own to narrow the lead, 45-37.
The Panthers were resilient as they climbed back in and held KAHS to just five points over nine and a half minutes spanning both the third and fourth quarters.
"They speeded up the game and we went with it," Martin said. "We have to play at our pace, not theirs."
Trailing by five, 50-45, with three minutes left in the game, Coconino called a timeout. That's when the Tigers changed tactics and pulled the ball out. As a result, KAHS forced the Panthers into fouling. Chinyere went 6-for-6 from the line down the stretch, Martin went 2-for-2, and Tomlinson added a layup as the Tigers pulled away at the end.
"I love that thing," said Morrison about the late-game strategy. "The great thing about it is the kids love it more than I do. I wanted to wait until two minutes were left, but they wanted to start at three."
Jake Anderson led Coconino with 17.
KAHS returned to floor Tuesday when it traveled to Mohave Valley to face River Valley. Results were not available by deadline.