LAFAYETTE – A night after getting run off the floor by North Central Conference rival Marion and after three straight losses, the Kokomo Wildkats decided they had had enough of losing. On the road and at once (and future) NCC rival Lafayette Jeff the Kats used their superior size and experience to cruise to a 59-41 win.
“They showed a lot of character,” Kokomo coach Brian McCauley said. “We know this game would show a lot about who we are. To come back, on the road, after a disappointing home loss [Friday] night and go on the road it was great to just get off to a good start.”
Kokomo made sure that this one would not be in doubt early, as the Wildkats (2-3) opened the game with a 9-0 run. Mykal Cox helped to spur the run as he would finish the first half with 13 points. Kokomo led 16-6 after one period.
The second period was almost all Kokomo as the Bronchos, who had only two players at 6 feet tall or taller, struggled to get anything going in the paint. The Bronchos (2-5) shot only 7 of 19 for the half, but bombed away from long range by hitting 3 of 9 three-point attempts.
Kokomo had no such trouble, as the Kats were a sizzling 14 of 19 from the floor. Brad Dockemeyer was 4-for-4 in the half, connecting on a pair of three-pointers, the last of which came at the buzzer to give Kokomo a comfortable 33-17 halftime lead.
“I am just really proud of the guys’ effort, intensity, and focus,” McCauley said. “We were really running our offense well in the first half and it is fun to see what you work on in practice show itself in a game. That’s when coaching is fun. The offense was good because we took good shots. [Friday] we didn’t do that and [Saturday] we did. It’s not rocket science.”
Lafayette Jeff came out shooting in the second half, as the Bronchos hit consecutive three-pointers and David Hanyard scored twice in transition as part of a big 17-6 Lafayette Jeff run. That allowed the Bronchos to cut the lead to 39-34, but Demarius Warren scored a nice basket on an inbounds pass to make it 41-34 after three quarters.
Lafayette Jeff’s David Hanyard was especially lethal for the Bronchos. The shifty guard finished with a game-high 20 points and connected three times from long range as Jeff made a run.
Kokomo kept the momentum going to start the fourth quarter, as Erik Bowen, Jazimar Woodard, and Cox all got into the lane for baskets in the first two and a half minutes. Woodard then got into the lane and dished an assist to Bowen, who converted an old-fashioned three-point play with the foul to make it 50-34 after an 11-0 run with 4:44 left.
“I was really proud of how we kept our composure after they came out and hit consecutive 3s,” McCauley said. “Brad Dockemeyer played probably the best game of his career and Jazimar Woodard came in and gave us a huge spark off the bench too.”
Kokomo was able to dominate the final quarter, outscoring the Bronchos 18-7 as their run after 39-34 reached 16 straight before Jeff was able to score. Lafayette Jeff’s first points of the final quarter did not come until there were less than two minutes left in the game.
Kokomo was led in scoring by 16 points from Cox, who was a stellar 7 of 10 from the field and also had five assists. Bowen finished the game with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Dockemeyer had 12 points, six rebounds, and a pair of assists.