Photo by Beau Bearden.
Lee Williams’ A.J. Herrera drives to the basket as Kingman’s Gage Plummer guards him. Herrera finished with 16 points in a 62-43 win over the Bulldogs.
Originally published Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 04:44p.m.
KINGMAN – The annual rivalry meeting between the Lee Williams and Kingman high school boys basketball teams provided plenty of excitement Friday night. As the squads battled on the court, the fans created a raucous environment that helped lead the Volunteers to a 62-43 win over the Bulldogs at LWHS.
“It’s very exciting,” said Lee Williams’ Marco Narvarte. “The louder the crowd is, the more energy I get. Like that one 3-pointer. It was amazing. It makes me want to dance and all that.”
Narvarte’s lone trey of the game came in the third quarter and not only created an uproar from the Vols supporters, but gave Lee Williams a 38-22 advantage.
The Bulldogs did respond with a 9-0 run following that 3-pointer to inch within seven points, 38-31, with 6:50 left in the game. But Narvarte and brother Diego Narvarte responded with back-to-back baskets to push the Vols’ lead back to 42-31.
“We were comfortable in that situation,” said Lee Williams head coach Cain Atkinson. “It seems like the last couple of games we’ve played, we’ve beaten teams by quite a bit. They make a run on us. We’ve gotten lazy, we’ve got complacent and then I feel like our guys did a good job of re-focusing, re-grouping and doing what is necessary to take care of it.”
That was exactly the case for the Vols as the momentum appeared to be shifting in favor of the Bulldogs, but then it swung back in the other direction.
Marco Narvarte was a big reason for that – finishing with a game-high 22 points, while A.J. Herrera scored 16 and Diego Narvarte added 12 points.
“I have nothing but praise for Marco Narvarte,” said Kingman head coach Nick Juby. “He’s a hard worker. He’s a hard-nosed player. He plays the right way. That’s the kind of kid that any coach would love to have.”
The Bulldogs did almost find a way to overcome Marco Narvarte’s big night as their 9-0 scoring spree was fueled by an unlikely change. Juby leaned into assistant Kevin Hubbard and told him he wanted to do something crazy.
“I was trying to find a spark and I went with the smallest ‘small ball’ lineup that I could do,” Juby said. “We wanted to see if we could counter their size with a little bit of speed.”
The fact that the lineup change worked did surprise Juby, but it couldn’t make up for other offensive struggles. Kingman’s big men – Tobias Bagby, Tucker Humble and Tony Napier – combined for just 11 points.
“There was like a lid on the bucket for all of our big guys – Tobias, Tucker and Tony,” Juby said. “… Those guys provide a lot of punch inside. When they start rolling inside a little bit, it does free up a lot of our outside stuff.”
The Bulldogs couldn’t find their groove from long range though, sinking just three treys in the game. Elijah Howery led Kingman with 16 points, while Gage Plummer scored six and the trio of Nate Lawson, Quanah Quasula and Bagby finished with five points each.
Kingman (3-3) travels to Bagdad (3-3) Monday for a 6 p.m. contest, while Lee Williams (4-2, 1-0 4A Grand Canyon Region) is idle until Jan. 5 when it travels to Mohave (4-5, 0-4) for a 7 p.m. contest.
“It was a fun game,” Atkinson said. “Rivalry games are always fun. Both teams played hard and we have to continue to get better.”