BAINBRIDGE—Don’t let the final score of Kenston’s 73-65 sectional semifinal win over visiting University School on Wednesday fool you. The Bombers dominated the Preppers in every aspect of the contest, at least until the fourth quarter.
Kenston led 64-35 after three quarters when head coach Matt Vespa cleared his bench. The Preppers outscored the Bombers in the fourth quarter, 30-9.
“Obviously, it’s a cliché, but it’s win or go home at this point,” Vespa said. “This was the last opportunity for the seniors to play on this court and we talked all week about not letting someone come in here and end your career on your home court. I thought we played with that intensity.”
The Bombers took control early as Ryan Kooser, Michael Swartz and Kee-Shaun Merrill each scored five first quarter points in building a 20-9 lead.
Kenston pushed its advantage at halftime to 45-20.
“We did a nice job on offense and defense,” Vespa said. “We stuck with our game plan and we were able to wear them down a little bit.”
Kooser, Swartz and Ben Batista all finished the first half with 10 points and Merrill pitched in with seven.
Swartz finished with a team-high 15 points, Merrill closed out the game with 11 and Kooser and Batista both scored 10
“When we play like that, when all those guys fill their roles, Kee-Shaun does a little bit of everything, Swartz is able to shoot the ball, Kooser can go inside and out and Ben is able to post up, that’s our strength, just our versatility and having enough guys to keep coming at you,” Vespa said. “Everyone is a capable player. It’s nice to see that when that happens.”
The Bombers also benefitted from 10 blocked shots.
“Sometimes I don’t realize it, but we’re a pretty big team,” Vespa said. “At one point, we can go 6-5, 6-5, 6-7 and Kee is 6-3 out there. That’s a pretty big team. We did a nice job of being solid and that lets us get out in transition.”
Kenston improved to 15-7 overall and advanced to Saturday’s sectional championship game at Cleveland Central Catholic.
“Saturday is going to be a test,” Vespa said. “Are we going to be able to go out and (play like we did against University School)?. It will be fun to see.”