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Kings crash boards in second half to top Hawks
Despite a significant height advantage, Kofa went into halftime not only trailing Gila Ridge on the scoreboard but also in the rebounding battle.
Coach Eric Krepps told his Kings they had to improve if they wanted to beat the Hawks for the first time this year. They apparently listened.
The Kings owned an 18-12 rebounding edge in the second half and held off Gila Ridge 44-30 on Tuesday night in a Gila Valley Region battle at Kofa.
The win was the fifth in six games for the Kings and put an end to Gila Ridge's 12-game winning streak.
Gila Ridge (13-2, 1-1) outrebounded Kofa (7-5, 1-0) 19-11 in the first half. Both of the Kings' first-half offensive rebounds were team boards that went out of bounds on Gila Ridge blocks on their first possession.
“We had a little discussion at halftime about defensive rebounding, and I think it took hold a little bit,” Krepps said. “We crashed the offensive boards more than we did in the first half as well.”
Emily Crouch finished with 10 points and six rebounds, all in the second half for Kofa. The Kings trailed 6-2 after the first quarter and 13-11 at halftime and were down 18-14 with 4:06 left in the third. But they scored the next 17 points over a seven-minute span.
“We know they were going to play 2-3 zone, which they've kind of done for a long time now,” Gila Ridge coach David Schultz said. “We just didn't move the basketball like we were supposed to and they did a good job of pressing us. We didn't turn the ball over on the press, it just took us out of our offense.”
After Kacey Nady, who led the Kings with 14 points and four steals, scored on a putback to close the third quarter, Crouch got a pair of putbacks in the first minute of the fourth.
“We talked with our coach, and he just reminded us they can't get any second chances,” Crouch said. “We stopped them.”
Gila Ridge dominated the first two meetings between the teams. The Kings dropped the first one at home during the third-place game of their Thanksgiving tournament, 69-43. The Hawks won a week later 72-47 at home.
“If David's team knocked down their shots, it would have been a whole different ball game,” said Krepps of the Hawks, who shot 25 percent from the floor. “It seems like the last couple times they couldn't miss when we played them. They're a great ball team and this is a good win for us. They're the frontrunners in the region, so this one was big. It was a good game for us.”
Summer Ehrig had 17 points to lead the Hawks. Jenna McKenna joined her Kofa teammates Crouch and Nady in double figures with 11.
“We had to get it back,” Crouch said. “Gila Ridge had their fun, but it's our game.”