CALEDONIA – The Kingston boys basketball team worked the ball into the post, and frequently reached the free-throw line during the second half after gaining an early advantage over Valley from perimeter scoring.
The Cougars based their late offense around Eli Hongsermeier-Baxter, who notched 18 points, 19 rebounds, and seven blocks in a 52-37 triumph on Thursday. He finished 10-of-19 from the foul line while earning seven trips during the second half.
Kielan Reyes sank his first four 3-pointers within the first four minutes of play, and solely secured a 12-0 lead for Kingston (3-6). He tallied a game-high 20 points in the winning effort, and headlined a 16-0 start to the contest.
The Cougars enforced a stifling defense to generate 12 first-half turnovers, and held a 29-12 advantage at the break.
Hongsermeier-Baxter dropped in a quick layup on the first possession of the third quarter, then recorded his third block on the other end.
Valley (2-5) aimed its defensive focus to the perimeter after being punished from outside during the first period.
Dylan Turner relied on pull-up jumpers in an attempt to shrink the deficit, but the Vikings struggled to keep Kingston away from the stripe. Turner posted a team-high 13 points and five rebounds in the loss.
Keeton Loughary received an intentional foul by pulling Hongsermeier-Baxter to the floor after his third consecutive offensive rebound. He split the ensuing free throws to gain a 35-20 lead with 2:15 to play in the third quarter.
Loughary was later called for a technical foul with 3:13 remaining in the game, and Reyes converted the pair of foul shots for a 44-33 Kingston advantage.
Valley briefly cut the difference within 38-30 on a transition layup by Brian Driemeier two minutes earlier.
Turner pulled up from 15-feet to convert the first basket for the Vikings, and made the score 16-2 with 2:35 remaining in the first quarter. He dropped in a mid-range jumper with 40 seconds on the clock, and narrowed the gap to 16-6 at the end of the first after Hongsermeier-Baxter scored in his own basket on the previous possession.
Cole Regan finished only 3-of-9 the foul line in an 8-point performance for the Cougars.
Michael Pesley often attacked the basket for Valley to record eight points, while Loughary led the team with seven rebounds.
Kingston defeated Valley 51-23 in their previous meeting. The MAAA small-school rivals are scheduled to face off again on January 26th.