KINGMAN - Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, there were two sides to the Kingman Academy High boys basketball team Friday. There was the cold-shooting Tigers that could only put up 20 first-half points, and then there was the can't-miss Tigers that put 41 in the second half for a 61-43 win over River Valley at KAHS.
Kingman Academy (4-3 Division III) came up with some new-found determination after halftime as it trailed River Valley (3-3 D-IV), 23-20.
"They changed their level of effort," said KAHS boys basketball coach Brian Devincenzi. "They decided this was important enough to them to go at it hard. Hard enough to go at it until they asked to come out, and that's the first time they did that."
The Tigers went at it so hard to start the third quarter, they nearly equaled their first-half output in the opening three minutes with a 15-3 run. They led the Dust Devils by seven at the end of the quarter, 44-37, and put them away with a 16-4 fourth quarter.
"I think we just got it together and started working together as a team," said senior forward Garen Steed. "Once we get that mark where we can just hit it, get down the floor and go at it - we just rock the house."
Steed, a first-year transfer from Idaho, did plenty of his own rocking while leading the Tigers with 15 points. The 6-footer found his place in the offense.
"Just being in the right spot, mainly," Steed said. "It's just finding the open spots, being there to catch the ball and just lay it up."
Ten of Steed's 15 points came within three feet of the basket.
"Garen is not the most gifted shooter and he knows that," Devincenzi said. "He plays his role. He gets on the boards, plays tough defense, helps out and boxes out. He's priceless to this team."
Cade Martin scored 13 points for the Academy, and freshman Tyler Chinyere was also in double figures with 10, including eight (out of 10 attempts) from the free-throw line.
P.J. Homer contributed nine, Jeffry Chinyere finished with seven, Logan Day and Kannon Butler each tallied three, and Johnny Varona had one.
River Valley's David Larrabee scored a game-high 26.
It was a good bounce-back win for the Tigers after falling at Lake Havasu (7-0 D-III) Thursday, 63-55. Tyler Chinyere led the Academy with 13 points.
"If we had played this hard against Havasu, we would have won," Devincenzi said. "But this was a good way to end and go on the Christmas break."
Academy doesn't play until it hosts Scottsdale Prep (3-3 D-III) at 7 p.m. Jan. 6.