The dynamic duo of Emilio Mancol and Keannu Royster combined for 29 points to lead the Kennedy Catholic boys basketball team to a 53-35 win over Glacier Peak Wednesday in the first round game of the 4A boys state basketball tournament in the Tacoma Dome.
Kennedy Catholic coach Don Hoffman said the smallish but athletic seniors – each stands 5-feet-9 – have come up big for years now.
“Keannu has been a four-year starter, he’s seasoned,” Hoffman said. “Emilio came in as a sophomore and has started since then. We feed off of them and they make they other players better.”
Mancol took charge in the first quarter, scoring nine of his team’s 13 points. He scored the game’s first basket, a 3-pointer from the left wing. He hit another one, scored a layup and made a free throw to help his team out to a 13-6 lead.
“It felt good,” said Mancol, who finished with 16 points. “I just went with the team’s offense. The shots were there and my teammates found me.”
Glacier Peak changed their defense from man-to-man, to a 1-2-2-zone. They tried to trap Lancers as they crossed halfcourt. The zone defense opened up the 3-point line for Kennedy Catholic. Jared Thurber and Royster hit back to back 3-pointers, stretching the Lancer lead to 23-10 with 1:32 remaining in the first half.
Kennedy Catholic maintained a double-digit lead through the fourth quarter. Royster would push the game out of reach, scoring all eight points in an 8-0 run. It started when he made two sets of free throws, got to the basket for a layup and finished it with a layin off an alley-oop pass from Thurber. Royster finished with 13 points
“Fourth quarter is the most important quarter,” he said. “I had a mismatch and I took advantage of it. I was making shots.”
Glacier Peak struggled all day with their shooting. The Grizzlies shot 23.2 percent from the field (13-for-56) and made only three of thir 24 attempts from 3-point range (12.4 percent). Even free throws were an issue, as they hit on 46.2 percent of their attempts there.
Kennedy Catholic moves on to play top-ranked Union, which is led by Cameron Cranston, on Thursday in the quarterfinals at 12:15 p.m.
“Union is going to be tough,” Hoffman said. “They are one of the top teams in the state, and they have been for years. We’re going to out there and play as hard as we can and try to shut down their big guys. It’s going to be a handful for sure.”