Photo by Shawn Byrne.
KINGMAN – After 10 tries, the Kingman Bulldogs made history. Kingman used a swarming defense to force Kingman Academy into 24 turnovers to win the season opener for both teams Monday at KHS, 71-50. It was the first win for the Bulldogs over the Tigers since the two teams began playing in the 2013-2014 season.
“Definitely was the pressure,” said KHS point guard Elijah Howery. “Wherever it went. You give them pressure, you can easily read that and we executed it perfectly tonight.”
Howery, a junior, averaged three points per game last year and scored a season high of nine in one game. He had 14 for the Bulldogs in the win over Kingman Academy (0-1, 2A Conference).
Kingman came out energized and grabbed the lead at the end of the first quarter, 22-14. The Bulldogs scored on several breakaway layups after Tiger turnovers to augment a balanced opening quarter when six players put points on the board.
“We were getting the boards and got going,” said second-year KHS boys basketball coach Nick Juby. “That was the best we’ve played since I’ve been here. We kept up the energy level the whole way.”
Kingman (1-0, 3A Conference) extended its lead to 37-23 at the half. Jordan Dupee did most of the damage for the Bulldogs, scoring nine of his 11 points in the quarter on three 3-pointers.
Anthony Pinto scored a game-high 21 for the Bulldogs. He tallied 10 points in the third quarter that kept Kingman Academy at bay and then the 6-5 center added a 3-pointer in the fourth that brought the Kingman bench to its feet.
Jon Hunt added nine points for the Bulldogs. Matthew Ruggles and Calvin Kelly each finished with five, Miguel Salinas tallied four, and Tobias Bagby contributed two.
Kingman Academy has a few issues it needs to fix. The 24 turnovers didn’t do them any favors, the Tigers are lacking a point guard, and their energy level was no match for Kingman.
“It was like everything we taught them over the past three weeks disappeared,” said KAHS boys basketball coach Brian Devincenzi. “We had the same thing happen at Saturday’s scrimmage when every other team came out hard. We couldn’t even get the ball into the offense.”
Cade Martin led the Tigers with 16 points, and Tyler Chinyere had 12. Logan Day finished with eight, Rider Havatone scored seven, Aden Dunton four and Zach Matthes contributed two.
Kingman played at Lake Havasu (1-0, 5A Conference) Tuesday. The Knights beat River Valley Monday, 65-24.
Kingman Academy was at Lee Williams (1-0, 4A Conference) Tuesday. The Volunteers won at Parker Monday, 59-53.
Results from Tuesday’s games were not available by deadline.