Trojans head into holidays with a double-digit victory

WORTON — It wasn’t pretty, coaches and fans alike agreed when describing Kent County’s last varsity boys basketball game before the holiday break.

Kent County never trailed on the way to a 53-41 triumph over visiting North East on Dec. 18, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.

The Trojans were sluggish and sloppy at times, “and that can’t happen against good teams,” veteran coach Sobaye Scott said in an interview immediately after the game.

In a follow-up interview by phone the next day, Scott said, “We’re way better than that.”

Scott noted that Kent (2-3) had just come through what he called “hell week” of Easton, Cambridge and Queen Anne’s in a super challenging four-day stretch.

On top of that, more than half of the guys on Kent’s 10-man roster are playing at the varsity level for the first time.

“It’s expected,” Scott said of the Trojans’ early-season slip-ups. “We’ve still got a lot of growing to do.”

Returnees Jonah Somerville, Larry Steward and JySir Valentine carried Kent across the finish line last week against North East, collectively scoring 45 of the team’s 53 points. Steward led the way with 2o, then came Valentine with 17 and Somerville with eight.

Troy Bennett and freshmen Dwan Harris and Jayden Miller made up the balance.

Justin MacMillan led North East with 12 points. Tiylor Hunt added eight points, all in the fourth quarter when North East matched Kent point for point.

The host Trojans opened the game on a 6-0 run, beginning with Steward’s three-point play, but nearly three minutes had elapsed with numerous turnovers by both teams before Steward made the and-one.

North East closed to within a point, 6-5 on a MacMillan three with 3 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the opening quarter, but would get no closer.

The Trojans ended the frame on an 8-0 run, punctuated by the 6-foot-5 Valentine’s gentle dunk on a fast-break with 50.8 seconds to play for a 14-5 advantage.

Kent took its first double-digit lead at 17-7 on a Steward lay-in off a pass from Somerville with just under four minutes remaining in the half.

The spread was 26-9 at the midway point.

Another Valentine dunk, a one-handed slam to finish off a three-on-one fast-break, produced a 28-12 lead with only 47 seconds elapsed in the second half.

Kent led by as many as 17 points three times after intermission, the last time at 49-32 on a Steward drive along the baseline with 3:04 remaining.

This week the Trojans are playing two games in the highly regarded Governors Challenge tournament in Salisbury, and then it’s back to the regular schedule Tuesday, Jan. 2 at North Caroline.

Kent’s next home game is Thursday, Jan. 4 against St. Michaels.

To help bring the newcomers along, Scott said the emphasis in practices in the near term will be heavy on “more fundamental stuff” — passing, cutting and boxing out under the glass, for example.

 

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