January 21, 2020
The team had some momentum entering the game as it had defeated both Twinsburg and Andrews Osbourne Academy earlier in the week. The Bombers knew that it would take everything they had to get the victory on enemy territory. Kenston left everything out on the floor on Jan. 15 as it edged the Rebels by a score 73-67 in an overtime thriller at Willoughby South High School last Friday evening.
Kenston had been in control since the second quarter but had to withstand several scoring spurts by the Rebels. The Bombers led 54-48 in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter but Willoughby South senior guard Will Hagwood knotted the game after draining a three-pointer and then converting the and-one after a lay-up in transition.
The Bombers needed to stay ahead by converting at the charity stripe and held a two-point lead with 11 seconds left in regulation. Willoughby South had the ball after it hauled in a rebound off a missed Kenston free throw. Rebels’ senior forward Tyree Alexander rumbled to the basket to lay the ball in to tie the game. He missed the shot but grabbed the offensive rebound and drained a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. Willoughby South’s bench erupted in celebration but Kenston didn’t hang its head.
“We saw them celebrating over there thinking the game was over but we were like, ‘They still gotta play us for another four minutes’,” said Bombers’ senior guard Ethan Thorne, “We were fired up the whole time.”
Willoughby South took its first lead since the second quarter when Alexander knocked down a three-pointer from the top of the key. The Rebels were in foul trouble and Kenston took full advantage by going seven-of-eight from the charity stripe and tightened up the defense to close things out for their first conference victory of the season.
The Bombers started out slow. They had trouble knocking down shots and couldn’t hold onto the ball as they committed eight turnovers in the first quarter alone. Hagwood set the tone early for the Rebels and dropped eight points in the opening quarter to push Willoughby South out to a three-point lead. Kenston knew that it had to slow down the Rebels’ guard.
Hagwood was held scoreless in the second quarter while Thorne caught fire. The Bombers’ senior guard poured in ten points including several transition baskets off turnovers to help his team hold a 32-25 lead at halftime but the Rebels weren’t about to get run off their own home court.
Willoughby South opened up a 14-7 run to kick off the third quarter and cut it to a four-point game. The Bombers withstood the rally thanks to the sharpshooting of junior forward Anthony Yohman. He knocked down three triples in the third quarter alone and put up 11 points to keep Kenston in the lead. The Rebels couldn’t get over the hump as Hagwood scored just two points in the third.
“We just played our style of game. We played a one-two-two halfcourt and it kind of made them think a little bit,” said Bombers’ head coach Derrick DeJarnette.
The Willoughby South guard broke through in the fourth quarter to lead the comeback. Hagwood and Alexander formed a nice one-two punch to combine for all 15 points in the final quarter to ignite the rally.
“I feel like we kind of let it slip away from us at the end but we made out free throws in overtime and we clinched it out,” said Yohman.
The junior forward was Kenston’s leading scorer as he tallied 23 points, four rebounds and one assist followed by Thorne who had 14 points, three rebounds and two assists. Alexander led Willoughby South with 21 points, nine rebounds and two assists while Hagwood was second in scoring with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. The Bombers were hoping to keep the momentum rolling against Chardon on Friday night but the game was cancelled.