Kokomo's boys basketball team took control almost instantly Saturday night. The Wildkats grabbed the opening tip against Peru and established a theme with their first bucket — a driving score by point guard Mykal Cox.
Peru tied the game on a dunk by 6-foot-11 junior center Seth Adelsperger, but Kokomo responded with a triple by Brad Dockemeyer off a feed from Cox and the Kats never looked back.
Kokomo went on a 9-0 run and was never challenged, posting a 73-39 victory over the Bengal Tigers (4-4) in Memorial Gym.
Kokomo (4-5) was disruptive on defense at the guard spots and inside in forcing 19 Bengal turnovers. On offense, the aggressive play by Kokomo's guards set the tone for an efficient night.
"Our pressure really caused them a lot of problems," Kokomo coach Brian McCauley said. "Our guys really did a good job with making rotations, getting solid traps, getting deflections, that leads to a steal, that leads to an easy basket. We scored 25 points off their 19 turnovers and that's the story of the game."
McCauley noted that even when not getting a turnover, Kokomo's defense was able to speed up Peru and force shots that the Bengals didn't intend to take when they drew up a game plan.
That was a source of frustration for Peru coach Jim Metcalfe.
"Disappointed doesn't begin to describe how I feel right now," he said. "Our guys really thought we'd come over and play much better. When your perimeter turns it over 15 times ... 15 of your 19 turnovers coming from guys who have the ball in their hands the majority of the time, it doesn't give you a chance to win this game."
Kokomo's perimeter players Cox, Jordan Matthews and Jeron Gray dominated. Twice in the first quarter Cox and Erik Bowen connected on nice lob plays where Cox drove in deep, drew defenders in the air and lobbed passes to Bowen who caught and scored all in one motion.