By Anthony Alandt
CHAGRIN FALLS, OHIO – The Willoughby South Rebels boys basketball team beat the Kenston Bombers 52-40 Tuesday night.
With the win, Willoughby South now has a 10-1 record in the Western Reserve Conference and stays steadily ahead of Kenston for sole possession of second place in the conference.
Kenston was unable to bounce back from a 3 point loss to Chardon and now falls under .500 on the season with an 8-9 record overall.
The matchup started off with a very upbeat and high octane pace that would stay throughout the course of the game. South used their size to marginalize the Bombers on offense in the first quarter.
Kenston tried to get their offense moving by finding seniors Bransen Stanley and Ryan Long down low in the paint, but with little success. The overpowering height of the Rebel defenders met the Bomber big men at the rim and limited them to just 12 first quarter points.
Since the Bombers knew early that they were beaten in size, they realized that to beat South they would have to outhustle them for every rebound, loose ball, and to disrupt every pass.
Coming out of the timeout after the end of quarter one, both teams entered into an uninterrupted 3 minute period of an all out fast break sequence.
This overwhelmed the Bomber boys, who wasted some fast break possessions on an uncontrolled, ill advised shots and uncommunicated passes.
Kenston senior Long went for a game-high 16 points and was the only real bright spot in this tough outing for the Bombers.
Xavier Hopps led the Rebels with 13 points, but received a great deal of help from sophomore Will Hagwood and senior Alvin Sloan III who both went for 10 points.
Senior Damion Williams put up a memorable 9 points as he threw down 3 dunks, the third of which he was fouled on.
Despite being outmatched in the game, Kenston was down by just 3 points with 2:20 left in the first half. This turned quickly, as the South shooters rattled off 10 unanswered points and led South into the halftime up 30-17.
All the energy seemed to run out for Kenston coming out of the break, allowing the Rebels to continue their control of the game. They didn’t get back to their spots on defense and were sometimes too lazy for Coach Derrick DeJarnette’s liking in transition.
Willoughby held Kenston to just 10 points in the third quarter, four of which came in the final :20 seconds of the quarter. They entered the final quarter of play up 44-27.
One of the reasons that Kenston was shut down in this game was due to the fact that Willoughby did not commit a shooting foul against the Bombers until Stanley was fouled with 6:27 left in the game.
After a second straight conference loss, Kenston moves on to play Eastlake North away on Friday.
Willoughby South, the proud owners of a 5 game winning streak, will look to make it six in a row against Madison High School on Friday.