If basketball is a game of runs, Friday night’s matchup between Kenwood and Northwest was a marathon.
The Knights broke the ice by scoring the game’s first points, but Northwest answered back with a 13-0 run courtesy of three Markus Farrior three-pointers. After being down double-digits early, KHS scored the period’s final four points, beginning a run of their own that extended into the second.
An 11-2 KHS run, sparked by two Kemari McIntosh threes, brought the game back within two midway through the second. From that point forward, neither team was able to gain much separation throughout the night. At the end of a defensively driven first half, the Vikings held a 19-16 advantage.
A 4-0 start to the second half gave the Knights their first lead since the game’s inaugural points. This lead did not last long, however, as NWHS would regain it on their next possession and go into the final quarter up 33-30.
The theme for the first 24 minutes of action between the Knights and Vikings was each team’s defensive ability and grit, but the fourth quarter saw a complete change of script. 40% of the game’s points --42 in total -- came in the final eight minutes of action.
The Vikings held a three-point, 39-36 lead at the halfway mark of the fourth quarter — then Jaylen Washington happened.
Washington tied the game at 39 and with under five to play, and then hit a dagger three a couple minutes later to extend KHS’s lead to 46-41 — the most either team had led by since early in the second.
Washington gave his team a three-point lead with 13.9 remaining in the game after making one of two free-throw attempts. The Vikings missed their next shot, which led to McIntosh sealing the victory for his team with a pair of free-throws.
After being held to just two points through three quarters, Washington scored 12 in the final period alone. He was second only to McIntosh, who scored 16 after connecting on four three-pointers on the night.
The Knights finished the marathon in front and came away with the 55-50 victory.
Even through a back-and-forth battle, KHS head coach Jason James says the most important thing was keeping his players level-headed and sticking to their process.
“We just keep playing,” James said. “It’s a long game. 32 minutes is a long time. We try not to get too down on bad plays and try not to get too up on good plays. We just want our guys to keep playing. We try to play the right way, it’s a process for us. It’s not really about winning or losing; it’s about performing and playing the right way. If we can do that, all of the other stuff will take care of itself.”
Due to receiving two technical fouls last Friday against Clarksville, Northwest head coach Aaron Wallus was forced to sit the game out, leaving John Stigall to fill in at the helm.
“It was a tough, grind it out type district game that you get in January,” Stigall said. “(The Knights) defend really well, they play hard, they do things the right way. It’s a first-class program. We had our opportunities tonight but did not make enough plays down the stretch.”
Kenwood returns home to face off against Montgomery Central on Tuesday, as the Vikings will welcome Rossview on Monday.
Kenwood (55): Kemari McIntosh 16, Jaylen Washington 14, Caleb Grady 6, Nic Boykin 4, J.J. Johns 4, Aaron Hall 3, Quentavious Barnes 2, Amari Kimble 2, A.J. Conyers 2, A.J. Rawlins 2.
Northwest (50): Ametri Moss 18, Markus Farrior 17, Randy Cooper 13, Servonte Williams 2.