After being on the wrong side of the scoreboard in some close losses, Kingsley-Pierson's boys basketball team made sure it wasn't going to happen again on Tuesday night when they went to Whiting and ran away with a 66-47 victory.
It took a big fourth quarter and some senior leadership to hold off the Warriors who hung around for three quarters before Panther's seniors Levi VanderVliet and Jordan Bird put the game out of reach combining for 47 points. VanderVilet had a monster day in the paint scoring a team-high 28 points and dominated the glass with 14 rebounds. Bird added 19 points and dished out four assists for K-P.
"I was very impressed with Levi's night on the offensive end," said K-P coach John Howard. "We also had some kids step up - when Whiting cut into our lead - and get some big baskets."
A major reason for the Panther's success was the quick start in the first half. After leading the first quarter by six, 17-11, the Panthers took control going into the halftime leading by a 31-21 score. With a 10 point lead, K-P was well on their way to scoring its second victory of the year. However, Whiting outscored the Panthers in the third quarter by a score to 16-13 to cut K-P's lead to seven heading into the final quarter. From there it was all K-P as VanderVliet and Bird teamed up with fellow senior Chase Koskovich to fight off the Warriors. Koskovich was the Panther's third player in double-digit scoring as he was able to tally 11 points as the visitors pulled away with the victory.
"I was proud of our guys," said Howard. "We played pretty well for most of the game. I thought we played much better team-ball than in the previous four or five games."
"We will have to continue to get better in the next few days with three games in four night coming up," he added.
After securing their second win of the season, the Panthers travel to face Lawton-Bronson on Friday before heading to Granville to take on Spalding Catholic. The schedule doesn't get any easier as K-P will turn around Monday and begin play in the Maple Valley Conference Tournament.
The Panthers won't return to the friendly confines of home until January 29 when a very tough Battle Creek/Ida Grove team comes to visit for a MVC match-up.