Kingsley-Pierson boys rally for win over MMCRU

Thursday, January 31, 2019
Kingsley-Pierson’s Matthew Christophersen goes up for a layup against MMCRU’s Andy Maass. Christophersen tied the game at 55-55 with just under a minute remaining on a steal and subsequent layup.
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil)

KINGSLEY — The Kingsley-Pierson boys basketball team had to overcome an 11 point deficit entering the final quarter as they rallied back for a 60-59 victory over MMCRU in non-conference action on Thursday, January 17.

“Fourth quarter, being down 11, I thought our team showed a lot of heart just getting ourselves back in the basketball game with a chance to win it,” K-P Head Coach Jarrod Schott said. “The first three quarters, we didn’t look like we had a lot of energy. It was just good to see us in that fourth quarter flip the switch.”

Andrew Prescott had a putback at the buzzer at the end of the third to put the Royals up by 11 entering the final frame. The Panthers cut the lead down to six points on a 3-pointer from Nathan Keck early in the fourth before it appeared the Royals might be able to snuff out the comeback effort as Robert Russell knocked down a trey of his own to stretch the lead out to double digits once again.

MMCRU’s Joel Johnson takes a 3-point shot against Kingsley-Pierson. Johnson made five from beyond the arc as he scored 21 points for the Royals.
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil)

Kyler Krieg hit a crucial 3-pointer from the left corner for the Panthers as they got the game back to two possessions just past the midway point of the quarter.

MMCRU’s offense stalled out for a few minutes as the Panthers fought back to a tie at 55 apiece with just under a minute left in the game as Matt Christophersen got a steal and subsequent layup.

The Royals were able to stretch the lead back up to four points with 30 seconds left with sets of free throws from Jordan Marks and Cade Pepper. A pair of free throws from Jackson Howe cut the lead to two and the Panthers had a chance to tie with leading scorer Keck at the line, but he missed the first of two leaving the team still down by one with 12.5 seconds left. K-P was able to get Krieg to the line with 8.1 seconds left as he hit both of his shots, first to tie and then to take the lead.

“Kyler Krieg made some huge plays down at the end,” Schott said. “Hits a three in the corner, gets a strip with a couple seconds left, gets on the floor and gets to the free-throw line down by one and makes two free throws. That shows a lot of heart from him and that’s how we played in the fourth quarter.”

MMCRU had the final chance with the ball in the hands of their leading scorer Joel Johnson. His shot at the buzzer just missed going in as the Panthers escaped with the home win.

Johnson dropped in five 3-pointers in the game as he finished with 21 points.

“If we get the ball in his hands for a last-second shot then we’ve done our job,” MMCRU Head Coach Cam Kuchel said. “If it goes in, it goes in. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t and that’s basketball. He came out and knocked the lights out of the gym tonight. He had a good shooting performance we know he is capable of.”

Keck answered with a game-high 28 points for the Panthers with 13 of those coming at the free-throw line. Tyler Sitzmann added nine points and a team-high eight rebounds while Christophersen finished with eight points.

Despite the loss, the sixth in a row for the Royals (2-12), Kuchel was pleased with the way his team responded after scoring just 14 points against South O’Brien and 28 points against Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn in their previous two games. The 59 points scored against the Panthers is their second-best output of the season, trailing only a 64 point game in a win over Clay Central-Everly.

“We laid it all on the line in practice yesterday,” Kuchel said after the game. “We didn’t do much basketball-wise. We had a team meeting for about an hour and a half and hashed out everything. We came together as a team and this was the performance we came out and did. We couldn’t be more proud of the boys tonight. That’s a solid ball club we just went toe-to-toe with.”

The comeback win has the Panthers (7-7) as winners in their last three, a season-long stretch of wins as the team hopes to keep the momentum from the fourth quarter of this game moving forward.

“We’ve won three in a row which is something we haven’t done and we’ve gotten ourselves back to .500,” Schott said. “Now we’ve just got to keep taking positive steps each time that we step on the floor.”

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K-P: (Individual) Points- Keck 28, Sitzmann 9, Christophersen 8, Krieg 5, Howe 4, Bowman 4, Reinking 2; Rebounds- Sitzmann 8, Bowman 6; Assists- Howe 6, Keck 3; Steals- Keck 2, Krieg 2; Blocks- Keck, Christophersen; (Team) FG 19-42, 3ptFG 2-15, FT 20-28, OFF-DEF REB 10-14—24, AST 10, STL 5, BLK 2; MMCRU: (Individual) Points- Johnson 21, Prescott 12, Pepper 10, Russell 9, Marks 7; Rebounds- Prescott 5, Marks 5, Johnson 4, Pepper 4; Assists- Russell 5; Steals- Prescott 2, Pepper 1, Marks 1; (Team) FG 21-51, 3ptFG 8-25, FT 9-13, OFF-DEF REB 11-12—23, AST 8, STL 4, BLK 0.