Even after down 14-1 to start the first quarter Friday, Kentwood boys basketball coach Blake Solomon didn't panic. All it would take was one made basket for the Conquerors to set their press against the Richland Bombers.
That basket came on a Preston White layup, and with it came a 23-2 run that turned the 4A state consolation game in favor of Kentwood, who pulled away to win 73-59,.
“Early, we missed about three layups, four layups. They made all their shots. We couldn't set up our press,” Solomon said. “We knew once we could set up our press, we'd be OK, so when we started converting and getting good shots, we were able to let our horses run.”
Sophomore guard Darius Lubom led Kentwood with 22 points, including a one-person 7-0 run to end the first half that gave the Conquerors a 38-29 lead at halftime. Lubom also had a team-high nine rebounds and four steals, part of the 19 turnovers the team forced.
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“Going into the game, we knew that they couldn't handle pressure,” Lubom said. “They only had two dudes that could actually put the ball on the floor and could score it.”
Junior guard Steven Beo led Richland with 22 points and five assists before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Fellow junior guard Landon Radliff added 17 points, six rebounds and six steals for the Bombers.
The Conquerors (24-4) play at 8 a.m. Saturday in the 4A fourth-place game. Richland (19-6) was eliminated with its loss.