The Kent City Eagles (21-0) received their first real test of the post-season against undefeated Calumet High School, but answered the call to hand the Copper Kings their first loss of the season in the state semi-final game. Calumet ends their season with a record of 20-1.
While much of the Kent City plaudits are doled out to the senior pair of Jenna Harrison and Kenzie Bowers, and deservedly so, the Eagles were driven largely by underclassman in the early going.
The game opened up for the Eagles with freshman Maddie Geers leading the way on the scoreboard, breaking loose inside the Copper King defense and finding her way to the bucket on several trips down the court. Things began to slow on the offensive end for Kent City and shots were uncharacteristically off the mark in the unfamiliar confines of the Breslin Center arena. They were off the mark, that is, until another underclassman, sophomore guard Lexie Bowers, came alive and dropped repeated triples that pulled the Eagles from several possessions behind to a small lead part way through the second quarter. Though Lexie Bowers didn’t post anymore points after that blitz, the run was crucial to getting Kent City back into things when they needed it most.
That flurry put Kent City in the driver’s seat most of the rest of the afternoon. Calumet made several runs throughout the game and even took the lead again on a few occasions, but those early runs enabled other Eagles to find their shooting touch and join the scoring fun.
The bigger court neutered the Kent City press to some degree and the arena setting cooled early shooting, but the Eagles pushed on until things started to click up and down the roster. Despite a slow shooting start, Jenna Harrison rallied back in the second half to lead all Eagles scorers with 15 and was followed by Maddie Geers (14), Kenzie Bowers (13), Lexie Bowers (10) and Emmalyn Geers (7). In the end, the Eagles held on for the 59-53 semi-final victory.
Once again, Kent City showed that they win games as a team and has players capable of stepping up to score when others start cold. The team first mentality is behind so much of the Eagles’ success this season and they will need to conjure every ounce of it when they face the vaunted Warriors of Grass Lake High School who notably beat Detroit Renaissance; a team that will be participating in the Division 1 State Final this week.
Despite the long odds and underdog status, Kent City seems prepped to slug it out with anyone.