Bulldogs rally for big district win over Kentwood
From the midway point of the first quarter to the end of the second, Kentwood unleashed a 26-9 run on Ascension Catholic and jumped ahead by 10 points.
It looked like times of old, when the Bulldogs simply had no answer for the Kangaroos. Prior to this year, Kentwood had been a team Ascension Catholic had never beaten since being paired together in District 6-1A.
Just last season, the Kangaroos beat them by 15.
It looked like it was heading that way again on Tuesday night, but Ascension Catholic proved they're not the Bulldogs of old. This time around, they stood firm and stormed back to not only win the game, but to do it in dominating fashion, by a score of 60-49.
"I’m proud of what we showed tonight," Ascension Catholic head coach Kylon Green said. "In my four years here, this was the first time we’ve beaten that team, and this is probably the best basketball team they’ve had in that time. I’m happy to get this district win.”
The Bulldogs came in winners of three straight, and they kept that momentum going to start the game against Kentwood. A steal and layup by Demarco Harry gave them a 9-2 lead right out of the gates.
However, after a Kangaroo timeout, the whole game shifted. With Ascension Catholic going ice cold from the field and Kentwood dominating the glass, the Kangaroos were able to close the first quarter on a 13-2 run to go ahead, 15-11.
The run continued in the second. It peeked at 26-9, allowing them to go up 28-18.
Finally, the Bulldogs got a spark from freshman center J'Mond Tapp. Tapp spent most of the first half on the bench in foul trouble, but when he was reinserted, he scored four in a 6-0 Ascension Catholic spurt to end the first half.
It cut the deficit to 28-24 at the break.
The Bulldogs began the third quarter on a 7-2 run. A 3-pointer by Harry gave them a 31-30 lead, but Kentwood stormed back with a 6-0 rally to go ahead, 36-31.
But from there, it was all Ascension Catholic.
To end the third quarter, the Bulldogs answered with an 8-1 run. A steal and layup by Demontray Harry gave them a 39-37 advantage heading to the fourth.
Ascension Catholic continued to roll. Treys by Demontray Harry and Jamil Truxillo and a transition layup by Jamar Barber stretched the run to 21-5 and gave them an 11-point lead.
Eventually, that advantage swelled to as many as 17. They won by a 60-49 margin.
“We settled down," Green said. "We knew coming in that they were going to be athletic. We saw that on film. We figured it would be a battle at the beginning, but down the stretch, I think we had to be focused and just be the better basketball team. We got some cutters back door, and we made some open shots when we settled down. We were able to close them out."
Truxillo was held in check in the first half, but he went off in the second. He finished with 17 points.
Demarco Harry was close behind with 15, and Demontray Harry scored nine.
Despite missing much of the game due to foul trouble, Tapp finished with eight.
“This definitely showed our maturity," Green said. "In the past, this is the kind of game that we lose, but we showed mental toughness tonight. We showed some heart down the stretch, so I’m happy to see it.”
Ascension Catholic only won nine games all of last year. They are now 11-6 after winning eight of their previous nine contests.
“We’ve been winning with defense," Green said. "We’ve been defending well, and we’ve been rebounding well. Out of those nine games, we’ve only allowed 50 points once. Any time you can hold a team to 50 points or fewer, that’s pretty impressive.”