Kentwood junior Blake Stempniak guarding Kent Meridians Tariq Hill. Photo Credit: Ben Ray/ The Reporter

Kentwood junior Blake Stempniak guarding Kent Meridians Tariq Hill. Photo Credit: Ben Ray/ The Reporter

Kentwood beats buzzer; ends K-M win streak 75-73

Kentwood took down rival Kent-Meridian on a last second buzzer-beating shot 75-73 Jan. 10 inside the Kent- Meridian High School gymnasium.

It improved the Conquerors’ boys basketball record to 6-5 overall and to 4-1 in the North Puget Sound League, putting them in fourth place.

“Anytime you go on the road and beat a Kent school, it is always earned. It’s a great feeling,” Conqueror coach Blake Solomon said.

Kent-Meridian’s five-game win streak was snapped in the loss, putting its record at 9-3 with a 3-3 league record. The teams are ranked in the 20s in the WIAA RPI state poll, Kentwood is No. 22 in Class 4A Kent-Meridian No. 23 in 3A.

It was a tightly contested game from the tipoff, at the end of the first quarter Kentwood had a slim one point lead 17-16.

The lead for Kentwood began to grow in the second quarter which ended 39-30. Kentwood scored a total of six threes in the first half, freshman Brandon Tagle had three of them.

Solomon had high praise for his freshman point guard.

“Brandon has such a good feel for the game,” Solomon said. “It helps us become a clutch team down the stretch… He always makes the right decision.”

Tagel’s final line was 19 points which included a third quarter buzzer beater, five assists, three steals and two rebounds.

The second half Kentwood started off extremely hot, going on a 9-2 run and led by as much as 15 in the quarter. Another young star sophomore Corey Tita found his groove scoring 12 of his 16 points in the second half. The third quarter ended with Kentwood up, 58-45.

In the fourth, Kent-Meridian put up two less points than they had in the entire first half 28 points. A major factor in the comeback was the clutch three-point shooting, and the play of senior Caelen Remos. Remos only recorded a rebound in the first half, in the second he recorded a block and scored 13 points.

With 1:01 left in the game, Kent-Meridian had its first lead of the game, 71-70. Kentwood’s Tagel went to the free-throw line to take the lead. After making the first, he missed the second but sophomore Mason St. Louis pulled down the rebound and scored on the put back taking the lead 73-71.

On the next Royal possession senior guard Tariq Hill scored his 14th point of the night, on a smooth right handed lay-up tying the game at 73 with 11 seconds left. Kentwood called timeout and stopped the clock.

Solomon left the game in the hands of his team and its freshman point guard. Tagle drove to the hoop inside five seconds, a leap to the basket followed by a dump off pass to sophomore Jaevieon Jamerson for the one- handed shot off the backboard as time expired.

The team with a single upperclassman in their starting five has now won two games this season on last-second shots. In Solomon’s 11th year it’s the youngest team he has ever had. On Jan. 10, Tita, Tagel and St. Louis combined for 71% of the team’s points and had the average grade of 9.6.

“It was kind of scary coming into it (season), you don’t usually win with guys this young…We are able to win while we gain experience and learn.. This is going to be the year we look back on as the foundation that spurred a long run,” Solomon said.

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Sophomore Jaevieon Jamerson being celebrated as he made the go-ahead basket. Photo Credit: Ben Ray/ The Reporter

Sophomore Jaevieon Jamerson being celebrated as he made the go-ahead basket. Photo Credit: Ben Ray/ The Reporter

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