LAKEWOOD — The Cougar boys basketball team faced King’s High School on Wednesday, Jan. 2, and lost the game to the Knights, 65-46.
Judging only by the first half, the game could have gone either way, as both teams held a lead at least once in the first two quarters. The Cougars scored consistently, finishing the first quarter only six points behind the Knights and managing to outscore King’s in the second quarter, going into half-time with a score of 26-23.
The Knights’ defense was strong throughout the game, however, and when the teams returned from the locker rooms, the Cougars had trouble getting past the strength of their defense and only scored six points in the third quarter. A number of bad passes resulted in turnovers, also hurting the Cougars’ chances of maintaining the scoring pace of the Knights, who scored triple the points of the Cougars in the third quarter. Lakewood kept pace in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to bring them back the lead and the game ended in a 65-46 loss for the Cougars.
Top scorers include sophomore Ryan Alford who scored 15 points including three 3-pointers, senior Blaine Kelly who scored 11 points and one 3-pointer, and senior Kendal Kippen who scored eight points and one 3-pointer.
Sophomore Hunter Fritz scored six points and senior Justin Peterson scored two points, as did sophomore Paul Coleman and junior Eljay Johnson.
“We’re kind of in the heart of schedule right now. We’ve got Sultan on Friday, Cedarcrest and then Archbishop Murphy, which are kind of the tough teams in our league,” said Lakewood head coach Matt Hart. “We had a really good tournament in Yakima a few days ago and played well, and I think tonight we weren’t quite prepared for how physical King’s is and how talented they are.”
Going into their next few games, the Cougars are planning on getting focused to win.
“We just need to get back to the basics and fundamentals. We have a lot of little things to work on and I think the things we are missing in our program right now are just basic little things, and once we can clean that up, the rest of the pieces will fall into place,” said Hart. “It’s an important part of the season right now.”
Hart said that despite the loss, several players still had a good game.
“Blaine Kelly played well and Hunter Fritz played pretty well for us also,” he said. “Towards the end of the game, Ryan Alford really kind of helped lead that charge back and made a couple threes and that helped us try to get back in it at the end. Ultimately their defense really hurt us. We’ve got to get back to the drawing board and kind of regroup.”
Lakewood is set to face Archbishop Murphy at home on Friday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m.