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Making its program debut at the McDipper tournament at Rich South, King wasted little time leaving an impression Wednesday morning.
Playing in the tournament opener, King forced 28 turnovers in a 67-62 win over Bolingbrook.
“We’ve been playing good defense all year,” King coach Culumber Ball said. “There are other areas on the court we can improve on, but for the most part we’ve been playing tenacious defense. The guys like playing together.”
Xavier Robinson led the Jaguars (10-3) with 28 points with Zion Morgan (14 points) and Zachary Branch (11 points) also contributing in the win. King will play Crete-Monee, which beat Thornton 73-56 in another opening round game, on Thursday at 4 p.m.
A junior forward, Robinson helped King pull ahead with a variety of baskets inside and out, consistently scoring in the post while also drilling three three-pointers.
“Xavier was big today, and he’s been good for us all year,” Ball said. “He controls the ball well, and he’s starting to mature and grow up.”
With Bolingbrook trailing 52-47 and charging fast, Robinson scored on a fast break layup and scored again on a nice pass from Demitri Thigpen. His athletic fast break layup was followed up by a Morgan free throw to give the Jaguars a 59-51 lead with 2:18 to go.
Chasing all the way, the Raiders came back again, getting to within four points (64-60) on a Kendall Guyton three-pointer. King had one last response, drilling 7-of-8 free throws in the final 57 seconds to secure the victory.
“I’m proud of the guys,” Ball said. “After a big Christmas dinner, they came out and played hard. You don’t have to play a perfect game to win. You just have to play smart, play hard.”
Bolingbrook (7-3) was led by Prentiss Nixon (22 points) and 13 points apiece from Guyton and Ben Moore. The Raiders finished 17-o-29 at the free throw line.
“We turn the ball over 28 times. End of discussion,” Bolingbrook coach Rob Brost said. “We’re a good enough team that shouldn’t happen.”