Boys basketball in District 10-AAA continues to be unpredictable and wildly fun this season.
The Kenwood Knights visited the Clarksville Wildcats on Tuesday, Jan. 12 for a game between two schools near the top of the standings. KHS went on an 8-0 run to end the first quarter with a two-point lead, but eventually lost 82-49.
“They played better than us,” said Kenwood head coach Jason James. “There wasn’t anything magical. They got some runouts. We didn’t get back on defense, and they played better than us down the stretch.
“We just didn’t play well. We have to play better to be able to stay in games.”
The Wildcats outscored the Knights 69-34 following that run to end the first quarter, and it was built largely off strong defense turning into easy offense. Star guard JJ Wheat was the needle that moved the CHS thread, scoring a game-high 23 points, with all but one coming at or near the rim.
CHS head coach Ted Young noted that the key to victory was the team’s half-court defense and how that typically led to good offense.
“We just kept playing great position defense all night, and we secured the rebound when we did get them to miss,” Young said. “They don’t miss often, but when they did miss, we got the rebound and got to come back down.”
Though Wheat led the way offensively, the Wildcats’ wealth of ballhandlers made things easy for the junior. Most teams – the Knights included – focus the bulk of their defense on Wheat to try and contain the scorer, but forward Charles Freeman and guard Javon Martin forced Kenwood to look their way by combining for 30 points. Freeman scored all 16 of his points in the second half.
After losing by double-digits to Northeast on Friday, the Wildcats were excited to get back out onto the floor and get on track again – especially since it was their first home game since a Dec. 1 win against Montgomery Central.
“The mistakes that we made against Northeast last Friday to kind of build on their lead, those are things that we’ve really worked on in practice,” Young said. “The guys took it hard. They’re basketball smart, really basketball smart.”
Kenwood’s Jaylen Washington led the Knights with 15 points. They’ll return to action on Friday against Northeast, while the Wildcats are scheduled to host the Northwest Vikings.
Clarksville (82): JJ Wheat 23, Charles Freeman 16, Javon Martin 14, Jahiem Berry 11, Jaheim McDonald 5, Wesley Booth 5, Joseph Schreiber-Rivera 4, Chris Bagatini 2, Nakar Nyonna 2.
Kenwood (49): Jaylen Washington 15, Kemari McIntosh 8, JJ John 8, Nic Boykin 6, Quentavious Barnes 5, Auron Hall 5, AJ Canyers 2.