The Kayhi Kings opened the third quarter of Saturday’s game against the Thunder Mountain Falcons with a spark and had taken its first lead of the contest 25-22, when Clayton Olstad — an integral part of that spark — exited the game with a cut to his head that occurred during a successful steal.
With the game delayed for several minutes and Olstad out, would Kayhi’s newfound momentum hold?
The answer: Yes.
During the next 5 minutes and 57 seconds, the Kings expanded a 25-22 lead to a 42-29 margin as the third quarter ended. Although Thunder Mountain kept pace with Kayhi in the fourth, Kayhi went on to win the game 60-46.
“When (Olstad) came out, it just kind of ignited something in our guys,” Kayhi coach Eric Stockhausen said after the game at Kayhi. “We started playing in a way that we intend to all year.
“I was very proud our kids,” Stockhausen continued. “They knew (Olstad’s injury) was an accident — it was two guys going for the ball that hit heads. But we went from a two—point game to a 15-point game real quick. Because our kids, they turned their focus on the defensive end, and that helped everywhere in the game.”
The Falcons had some strong defensive play in the first half, while five of its players scored in the first quarter. That included three 3-pointers, two by Thomas Baxter and one by Samuel Lockhart. Kayhi — which typically isn’t shy about shooting from behind the arc, avoided the long ball attempts in the first half.
“Thunder Mountain has good athletes, strong kids — they play very hard, and that was more of a heavyweight defensive fight in the first half,” Stockhausen said. “It was not pretty basketball, it was more of a … battle of wills defensively.
“ So when you play that hard defensively, its sometimes hard to have that finite skill and the touch involved because you’re playing such a physical game and that’s how region and state tournament games are played,” he said. “So that was a great experience for our kids and I thought our kids managed adversity very well today.”
Kayhi’s junior point guard JJ Parker played an excellent game from the opening whistle. After his first assist to Zach Hanchey for Kayhi’s first points, Parker contributed two more assists, four offensive rebounds and three points in the first quarter alone. He would end the game with 10 points, eight assists, four steals and many rebounds.
Stockhausen noted that Parker played most if not all of the game, was without fellow Kings’ guard and three-year starter Joeben Lorenzo in the backcourt, and did a great job in defending against Thunder Mountain shooter Samuel Lockhart.
“JJ did a great job, ” Stockhausen said.
Kings co-captain Hanchey was on the receiving end of a couple of Parker assists, and contributed much on the defensive end.
“I thought Zach Hanchey did a great job, was flying around and absolutely creating chaos defensively,” Stockhausen said. “It’s what he does, … He had several defections, several steals, rebounds. He leads us. That's why he’s one of our captains, him and Josh (Rhoads).”
A key Kayhi player in the second half was junior Archie Dundas. It was Dundas who took the ball to the hoop to give Kayhi its first lead early in the third quarter.
Dundas hit another basket in the third quarter before nailing a basket and two 3-pointers in the final period, finishing the game with a Kings-high 14 points.
“I thought Archie Dundas had a great second half,” Stockhausen said.
By the final buzzer, all but one member of Kayhi’s roster who played in Saturday’s game had scored at least 2 points.
Stockhausen was pleased about the Kings play as the game continued.
“It’s my job to get the best out of them and it’s even better when they get the best out of themselves,” he said. “And I thought that was a situation where they fed off of each other, and did everything in an effort to make each other look good. We had a lot of assists, … we had a lot of help defensively. We had steals. When five guys moved at the right time at the right place that’s extremely encouraging. … I just sat down and I enjoyed watching them play.”
Kayhi’s wins over Thunder Mountain on Friday and Saturday at Kayhi give the Kings a 2-0 conference record, and an overall record of 6-3.
Kayhi Kings: Archie Dundas, 14; Marcus Stockhausen, 11; JJ Parker, 10; Josh Rhoads, 9; Clayton Olstad, 7; Zach Hanchey, 4; Jared Rhoads, 3; Bubba Williams, 2.
Thunder Mountain Falcons: Thomas Baxter, 18; Samuel Lockhart, 11; Wallace Adams, 8; MJ Tupou, 5; Lance Nierro, 4.
Junior Varsity, Saturday, Jan. 8
Kayhi Kings 63; Thunder Mountain Falcons 23
Kayhi Kings: Trey Colbert, 14; Jared Rhoads, 9; Albrim Zhuta, 8; RC Lorenzo, 7; Andrew Kleinschmidt, 7; Jack Zink, 7; Kyler Secrest, 4; Pejha Hudson 3; Bubba Williams, 2; Marcus Stockhausen, 2.
Thunder Mountain Falcons: Reese Kugerman, 7; Jace Ribiao, 6; Landon Farley, 4; TJ Guevara, 2; Krishna Sangun, 2; Pedrin Saceda-Hurt, 2.
* Names and stats courtesy of the official scorebook.