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Mon, Dec. 09

Prep Basketball: Vols cruise to season-opening win over Kingman

Lee Williams’ Kade Juelfs, left, tries to stop Kingman’s  Rider Havatone with the help of teammate Marcell Thompson (21). Juelfs scored a game-high 29 points, while  Havatone  scored 20 for the Bulldogs. (Photo by Beau Bearden/Kingman Miner)

Lee Williams’ Kade Juelfs, left, tries to stop Kingman’s Rider Havatone with the help of teammate Marcell Thompson (21). Juelfs scored a game-high 29 points, while Havatone scored 20 for the Bulldogs. (Photo by Beau Bearden/Kingman Miner)

KINGMAN – The crosstown rivalry between the Lee Williams and Kingman high school basketball teams has favored one squad through the years, but there was something different about Tuesday’s meeting as the Bulldogs were without two starters and two role players.

It made a difference, too, as the Vols easily cruised to an 84-46 victory over Kingman at LWHS for their most lopsided decision since a 34-point win in 2016.

However, Bulldogs head coach Nick Juby will be the first to tell you this Lee Williams squad is for real.

“When I saw the starting lineup, I knew we were going to be in for a war – they have size,” Juby said of the Vols. “They shot really well and if they’re going to shoot like that, with that kind of size, they’re going to win a lot of games this year. They have a special group over there.”

But Juby also applauded his team for hanging in there despite a 31-point halftime deficit. Lee Williams put the Bulldogs in a big hole nailing six 3-pointers, with Kade Juelfs connecting on half of those on his way to 17 first-half points.

“The team is going to ride or die with Kade,” said Vols head coach Cain Atkinson. “He is definitely our motor and he has really put the time in to develop his game the way it is. I’m really proud of Kade. I’m just glad that he’s able to show that hard work because not a lot of kids would want to work out four to five hours every single day. And I’m not exaggerating – he was in the gym four to five hours every single day. I’m very happy for him and I hope he is very successful.”

Juelfs finished with a game-high 29 points, followed by Josiah Hooper with 14 points, and Jayden Hooper and Drew Cardiff with 10 points each.

“The team chemistry was awesome to see,” Atkinson said. “I saw guys enjoy the game of basketball and I haven’t really seen that from a team in a long time. Even though we had success last year, I didn’t quite see guys enjoy being around one another like I did tonight.”

The Vols also had plenty of support as a packed crowd cheered them to victory. While there were also Bulldogs fans, the Lee Williams supporters had reason to be happy from the opening tip-off.

“It was awesome to see how many people were here, especially the first game of the year,” Atkinson said. “I know it’s a rivalry game or whatever. But it’s the last day going into Thanksgiving break and I’m sure a lot of people have things to do, but decided to come watch us play. And I told the guys, ‘People want to show up to watch good team basketball.’ I thought we did a good job with that.”

Meanwhile, Juby was pleased to see how his squad managed without two key contributors on offense. Rider Havatone made up for it as much as he could with a team-high 20 points and Gabe Imus added 16.

“We had a lot of shots that were good looks that just didn’t go in,” Juby said. “Without Jacob Martel and Eddie Howery, our offense got bogged down a little bit because those two are very integral parts of everything that we do.”

The Bulldogs don’t have to wait long to get back on the floor as they travel to Chandler for the Valley Christian Tournament at noon Friday. The Vols, meanwhile, are idle until Thursday, Dec. 5 when they play in the Sedona Invitational.

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