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Kettle Run overcomes slow start to beat undersized Park View boys basketball

Friday, Dec. 6 | By Jeff Malmgren
Brendan Deliee had game highs with eight rebounds, four assists and two steals during Kettle Run's 67-39 win over Park View. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Each of the players in Park View's starting lineup Friday were under 6 feet tall.

The larger Kettle Run Cougars played down to their competition in the first half. They led by only five points late in the second quarter.

Kettle Run still won though, 67-39, and improved to 2-0 this season. In fact, winning by 28 points despite playing sloppily in the first half is testament to the Cougars' talent.

"They're quick and athletic. … Tough to guard," said Patriots coach Mike Koscinski, who did not start his 6-foot-6 and 6-5 post players. "We're telling our guys to play like they're a foot taller."

That took its toll eventually. Kettle Run pulled away with a 17-9 run in the third quarter and finished with two 20-point scorers.

The Cougars have four returning starters this season and eight players with varsity experience, while James Zentz the only Patriot who played varsity last season. Regardless, Park View (0-1) trailed only 11-7 at the end of the first quarter and 24-19 with less than three minutes remaining in the second.

"I guess we had a mindset that we were way better than them, or something like that," Latimer said. "Coach, he always prepares us like we're playing an amazing … team that's been in the state championship. We just didn't play like it at the beginning."

Kettle Run finally began to pull away at the end of the second quarter with Latimer making a 3-pointer to end the period. That gave the Cougars a 31-21 advantage.

"I preach that every opponent's going to be coming out for us," Kettle Run coach Troy Washington said. "We challenged them at halftime and told them that we're a much better basketball team than we showed."

"It really started on the defensive end," he said. "We played really poorly defensively in the first half."

The Cougars forced 12 turnovers in the second half, closed out better on Park View shooters that made three 3-pointers in the first half, and limited the Patriots' penetration.

Offensively, Eddie Benton and Danny Mattson combined for 11 of the Cougars' first 13 points in the third quarter. Benton also had seven points in the fourth quarter. He has moved seamlessly into the starting lineup after coming off the bench last season.

"I worked harder. I got stronger," Benton said of the offseason. "I worked a lot with other guys on individual game."

Koscinski noticed.

"No. 11 and 24 really brought it," he said of Latimer and Benton.

Latimer made four 3-pointers in the second quarter to give Kettle Run its initial separation. The Cougars needed only one other 3-pointer against Park View's 2-3 zone, though. Instead, they found ways to break down that defense and get the ball into the lane.

"They want to you shoot the ball [when] they're clogging up the paint," Latimer said. "Our coach always tells us not to over-shoot the ball – look inside."

Latimer led Kettle Run with 22 points and added seven rebounds and two steals. Zentz (5-9) led Park View with 10 points, while Charlie Claeyssen (5-8) had seven. Camerie Loving (6-5) added seven points and three offensive rebounds, while Justin Mooney (5-11) had four rebounds and two steals.

For Kettle Run, Brendan Deliee had game highs with eight rebounds, four assists and two steals, plus seven points. Benton and Mattson added five rebounds each and scored 21 and eight points, respectively.

So, in the end, the Cougars' offense proved to be effective against Park View's zone.

"They're going to see it a lot. … A bunch of different versions of zones," Koscinski said. "They were starting to screen us and run cutters to the corner – different looks as the game went on."

Washington's rotation is still in flux as football players like Mattson, Christian Yancey, David Eldridge and Justus Drakeford get more time on the practice court.

"When we need to start peaking, we will," Washington said.

How much higher that peak is, remains to be seen.

"For this early in the season, they look like a seasoned team," Koscinski said

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