Photo by JT Keith.
KINGMAN – Kingman Academy boys basketball coach Brian Devincenzi came into the season believing his Tigers could win a 2A state championship once his team was complete. Point guard David Larrabee returned to the lineup in January and led them to eight wins in a row, taking the 2A West Region.
Kingman Academy drew the No.1 seed (Pima) in the state tournament. In order to pull off an upset, Devincenzi believed his team needed to do two things: One, all five players would had to play as a team and contribute. Second, they would have to play a whole game.
In heartbreaking fashion the Tigers did one of the two needed to win. They played as a team, but couldn’t put two halves together as they lost, 64-47, on Friday afternoon at Yavapai Community College.
“We didn’t execute in the second half, like we did in the first,” Devincenzi said.
Kingman Academy was not intimated by the bigger Roughriders as they found a way to keep 6-foot-6 Jarrett Kartchner in check. In the first quarter, the Tigers continually pushed the tempo and lead 15-11 at the end of the period.
In the second quarter, Kingman Academy mixed and matched defenses and received enough offense to go into the locker room tied 25-25, believing they could win.
“I told them at half, they knew they deserved to be there,” Devincenzi said.
In the second half with Pima’s big men not a factor, the game turned when the Roughriders managed to take a six–point lead. The lead forced the Tigers out of their zone defense.
“We did well against their big guys,” senior Cade Martin said “It was their guards and 3s that killed us.”
With Kingman Academy missing shots on their end of the floor, the Roughriders went into a stall offense and spread the Tigers out on defense. Pima’s big men would kick the ball out to a guard for open 3-point shot.
“We matched up with them pretty well,” Larrabee said. “They did not miss from 3, so that killed us. They got a few easy baskets off our press.”
“We had a successful year,” Devincenzi said. “Our kids got a taste of what it’s like to go to state and play for No.1. I think they want more.”