Slow start does in Longhorns
by Greg Oshust
goshust@mdjonline.com
January 11, 2012 12:00 AM | 2121 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA - Kell came back strong from a slow start with a big second half, but it wasn't enough as the Longhorns lost to Alexander 102-85 on Tuesday in a Region 5AAAA game.

Alexander stormed out to a 27-9 lead in the first quarter and led 48-24 at halftime. Kell (5-10, 3-4) then managed to outscore the Cougars 61-54 in the second half, but the damage had already been done.

"I think (Alexander) came out with a ridiculous amount of intensity, and we didn't," Kell coach Keith Whitaker said. "If you don't match their intensity, they will blow you off the floor, and that's what happened. We looked good during the pre-game warmups, but for some reason, we came out lackadaisical. The second half, we didn't do much different. We just hit our shots and we picked up our intensity in the second half."

Kendall Crute scored 22 points for Kell, while Grant Bryant added 14, Maurice Summerour and Jonathan Twine each had 13 and Jalen Green had 11.

Arlen Parks led Alexander (11-3, 5-1) with 30 points, while Deandre Harper added 15 points. Greg Spencer and Lamarcus Frazier each had 13 points and Karim Mawuenyega had 12.

It was a tough start for Kell, which fell behind 10-1 and didn't score its first field goal until about 4 minutes were remaining in the first quarter.

Trailing 23-4 with 2:11 left in the first quarter, Summerour helped Kell cut the gap to 23-9 with a 3-pointer, and then a steal and layup, but Spencer ended the first quarter with a putback and a transition layup to increase Alexander's lead to 27-9.

The second quarter was an improvement for Kell, but the Longhorns weren't able to gain any ground on Alexander and trailed 48-24 at the half.

Kell began to get back in the groove in the third quarter as the Longhorns scored 34 points and hit four 3-pointers.

The Longhorns trailed 57-31 with 6:14 remaining in the third quarter when they went on an 11-0 run. Twine hit a 3-pointer, and Bryant was then fouled on a layup and made his free throw. Brendan Stewart nailed a 3-pointer and Bryant stole the ball and drove in for a layup to cut Alexander's lead to 57-42 with 5:27 left.

Kell's momentum was short-lived, however, as Alexander proceeded to roll off a 7-0 run of its own to push its lead up to 64-42 with 3:34 left, and the Cougars ultimately led 75-50 with 50.5 seconds in the third quarter.

It turned out that the Longhorns would have one more rally in them in the third quarter as they Alexander 8-2 in the last 50 seconds to cut their deficit to 77-58 at the end of the period.

Kell continued its surge with a 9-0 run at the beginning of the fourth quarter. After Crute hit a 3-pointer and Bryant scored on a putback, Crute drove in for a transition layup and later scored another layup off of an Alexander turnover to cut the Longhorns' deficit to 77-67 with 6:16 remaining in the game.

That would be as close as Kell would get, however, as Alexander proceeded to go on a 12-3 run of its own to increase its lead to 89-70 with 4:01 left in the game and the Cougars were never seriously threatened after that.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

? Kell 55, Alexander 34: The Lady Longhorns switched to a man-to-man defense in the fourth quarter and ran an up-tempo offense. The result was them outscoring the opposition 21-5 in the fourth and sealing a cozy Region 5AAAA win.

Naomi Stuger had 15 points for Kell (11-4, 5-2), while Caliya Robinson and Erin McKinney both finished with 12.

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