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By A.J. JANKOWSKI
Daily News Sports Editor
The Philomath (Ore.) Warriors shot the lights out Sunday morning in the shooting competitions.
Hours later against Kayhi, the light bulbs didn’t stand a chance — neither did the Kings.
The Warriors hit five 3-pointers; went 12-of-14 from the foul line, and scored no less than 17 points in each quarter en route to a resounding 75-57 victory against the Ketchikan High School boys basketball team in the third-place game on the final day of the Clarke Cochrane Christmas Classic.
Guard Derek Nash — who won the free-throw and 3-point competitions Sunday — scored 19 points, and forward Ben DeSaulnier notched a game-high 21.
"It's very difficult to beat a good team when they're playing well," said Kayhi coach Eric Stockhausen, whose team fell to 4-5 with the loss. "We were cognizant of their two shooters (Nash and DeSaulnier), who are great basketball players, and their other guys were able to find space."
Philomath reserve Timmy Thomas won the Hot Shot contest before Sunday’s games to give the school from Oregon a clean sweep in the boys shooting competitions. Thomas didn’t register a point in Sunday’s game, but the Warriors didn’t need him to, as they got 15 points off the bench from Joseph Noble and eight each from Cole Chambers and Ryan Nelson.
Kayhi trailed 19-9 after one quarter, and 36-23 at halftime in a game it never led. The score was tied once at 2-2.
"At the half, one of their main guys (DeSaulnier) had six points, but they had 36," Stockhausen said. "It's a tough one. It was hard to get anything going."
On the offensive end, junior Malik Almenzor was the only one who could sustain production for the Kings. The 6-0 guard scored a team-high 17 points, including Kayhi’s first five points of the game, and scored in every quarter.
Almenzor hit six shots from the floor — including two 3-pointers — and went 3-of-4 from the free-throw line.
"He's a tough-nosed kid," Stockhausen said. "He's the guy that, when he gets comfortable in all the thing's we're doing, he'll be the guy that gets to the foul line a lot and makes stuff happen."
Kayhi struggled to get going Sunday, which played right into the hands of the Warriors.
When a basket by Melvin Guthrie cut Philomath’s lead to nine midway through the third quarter, DeSaulnier answered with a field goal, a quick steal and an easy layup to put the Warriors up 45-31.
Moments later, Erwin Malabanan’s 3-point attempt was an airball, and Noble beat everyone down the court for another uncontested bucket.
"Against a team like that, you're going to have to play really well to be there at the end," Stockhausen said. "We didn't give up, but you could just feel the frustration."
The Kings outscored the Warriors in the fourth quarter, 21-19, but could never string together more than six points in a row.
Brien Auger, who had led Kayhi in scoring each of the past three games before Sunday, finished with 10 points. Nine Kings registered at least two points, but outside of Auger and Almenzor, nobody scored more than six.
"At times we handled the ball the way we wanted, and at other times we didn't," Stockhausen said.
The Warriors also out rebounded Kayhi 30-15, a number Stockhausen attributed in part to the attention his team paid to Philomath’s two dynamic scorers.
"When you put attention — like we did on (Palmer’s Connor Looney) the other night and these two guys (Sunday) — you're opening up more spaces," he said. "It's a lot harder to cover more ground with only three or four bodies."
In addition to Philomath’s quick start, there were far more empty seats at tip-off time compared to Kayhi’s other two games in the tournament, causing a palpable drop in the energy level on the court.
Sunday’s game started at 2 p.m., more than five hours earlier than Friday’s game against Palmer and the Kings’ tournament-opener Thursday against Petersburg.
"It felt like a weird situation," said Stockhausen of the earlier time. "But we should've created the excitement ourselves. We tried to climb our way back in it a couple times, but they had good answers."
Kayhi went 1-2 in the tournament, and finished fifth. Auger was named to the All-Tournament team, and registered double-digit scoring performances in all three games. The 5-11 senior bumped his scoring average up from 8.5 points per game before the tournament to a team-leading 10.9.
The Kings travel to Juneau Friday for a pair of conference games against Thunder Mountain.