KINGMAN – It wasn’t the start the Kingman High School boys basketball team wanted Monday night. The Bulldogs lacked the fire and energy they usually play with, but that quickly changed as the offense came alive in a 72-27 blowout of Bagdad.
“I think we took them lightly in the first quarter,” senior Matt Ruggles said. “We just weren’t all the way in it. Then finally it clicked – we got our defense going and put a bunch of pressure on them. They couldn’t handle the ball and that turned us up defensively.”
Kingman’s defensive play was a big part of the final score as it carried over to the offensive end – resulting in a 28-8 advantage in the second quarter. That shifted the momentum in Kingman’s favor, but one play in particular sparked the team.
“We came out really slow in the first quarter – we weren’t making our shots, we weren’t rebounding and we weren’t playing defense that well,” junior Jacob Martel said. “But after that attempted (alley-oop) lob, that brought up the team’s energy. After that, we wanted the ball more as a team.”
While Martel didn’t connect on his slam dunk, it still provided the Bulldogs all the motivation they needed for a 37-20 halftime lead. Martel was the leading scorer going into the locker room and didn’t even need to tally a point in the second half to finish with 15 points.
Patrick Hunter added 11 points, while Matt Mendez scored 10 and Cody Powskey chipped in eight points. The Bulldogs had 10 athletes notch at least two points and finished with 11 total 3-pointers.
“When the team gets rolling, you don’t know what can happen,” Hunter said. “We can make 3s, Martel might get a dunk. When we’re on fire, everything is going in.”
And that was exactly what happened in the second half as Kingman ran away with it behind an onslaught of shots from long range. The Bulldogs sank seven treys in the second half, led by Parker with three – all in the third quarter – and Jason Reitz with two in the fourth.
“They’ve all really bought into their role,” said Kingman head coach Nick Juby. “There’s no complaints. Because at the end of the day, these guys just want to win.”
It was the Bulldogs’ (2-4) second victory in a row and they’ll look to keep it rolling at 7 p.m. Thursday when they travel to Glendale Prep (5-1, 2-1 2A Central).
“When these guys are playing the way they’re playing, I couldn’t be more proud,” Juby said.