KINGMAN - The fable of the Tortoise and the Hare has been around for hundreds of years. A story about a tortoise versus another tortoise has never been written, but it came to life Tuesday at Kingman High.
Lee Williams (9-9, 2-3) kept its Division IV, Section III playoffs alive with a 41-27 win over the Bulldogs as each squad tried to be more deliberate than the other.
"It was ugly and slowed down," said LWHS boys basketball coach Ray Smith. "The positive thing was that we didn't try to rush. It was pretty obvious his (KHS boys basketball coach Nick Juby) game plan was to slow it down, hit a few (shots), and be in the game all the way."
It didn't work out that way for Kingman (5-10, 1-4). Lee Williams opened the game on a 7-0 run and kept the Bulldogs scoreless for nearly six minutes before Kingman's Tanner Best made a 10-foot jumper. Best scored again with 28 seconds left in the first quarter, and the Bulldogs trailed, 12-4.
"There was a lid on it in the first quarter," Juby said. "And those four points came off of broken plays. It was one of the worst first halves we played all season and we were only down by 11."
Marco Antonio Narvarte scored five of his seven points in the first quarter for the Volunteers.
"I thought Marco was unbelievable in the first half," Smith said. "He hit his shots, he tipped the rebounds, and played really good defense. He got the Best kid in foul trouble."
Both teams needed the win to stay in the section chase, and Narvarte thought the Vols showed up when they had to the most.
"This was our best game in a while," Narvarte said. "This is our chance. We did pretty well with our teamwork."
Marco's brother Giancarlo Narvarte led the Vols with a game-high 14 points. Braxton Burgess, Lawrence Campbell and Kenyon Rowley each contributed five. Chaise Shropshire added three, and Nate Cottrell had two.
Kingman made a strong move to open the third quarter. The Bulldogs cut a 23-12 halftime deficit down to 23-18 by starting the quarter on a 4 1/2 minute, 6-0 run.
"We got on that run and were able to keep the gas on them for a little bit," Juby said. "They're big and long. They made the plays they had to make to win the game."
The loss eliminated Kingman from the section playoffs, and the Bulldogs being ranked No. 39 has them too far out for a spot in the state tournament.
Jordan Dupee led Kingman with nine points, his first game back since injuring his wrist. Anthony Pinto scored six, Best and Miguel Salinas each contributed five, and Elijah Howery had two.
Lee Williams hosts Parker (5-12, 2-3) at 7 p.m. today. The winner gets the fourth and final spot in the section tournament that begins Feb. 11 in Parker. The Volunteers also are holding on to a state tournament berth with their No. 20 ranking. The top 24 qualify for state, unless a section champion is ranked lower than 24. That team would leapfrog into the bracket.
Kingman wraps up its season at River Valley (11-5, 3-2) at 7 p.m. Friday.