Fifteen seconds into the fourth quarter, Kokomo’s boys basketball team looked in danger of being run off its own floor in a showcase game.
The Wildkats answered in a big way.
After Tipton guard Mylan Swan hit a 3-pointer to give the Class 2A No. 9-ranked Blue Devils a 59-41 lead, the Kats roared back with a 25-0 run to surge into the lead and they went on for a 66-61 win in the Basketball Day Indiana opener Saturday morning at Memorial Gym. Fox Sports Indiana televised the game.
“We have heart — unlimited heart,” said guard Bobby Wonnell, who scored a team-high 20 points and dished four assists. “To be down 15 going into the fourth, not too many teams could come back and win. It shows how tight we are and how family connected we are. I love playing with them.”
The Kats (7-12) made 8 of 13 shots from the field in the fourth quarter — including 4 of 6 from 3-land. They also did not commit a turnover.
“I thought [Saturday] was a good opportunity for us on a big stage to show everybody not only what we can be with some young, good players, but what we are right now when we play collectively and we play for each other,” Kokomo coach Bob Wonnell said. “We maybe only seized eight minutes of it, but what an eight minutes to seize.
“This is my 13th year as a head coach. I can’t remember something like that [comeback]. I’ve been a part of some big turnarounds, including some on the other side. Last year when we played Tipton, we were up 16 at halftime and lost in overtime.”
Tipton (13-4) controlled most of the first three quarters. The Blue Devils led 15-8 after the first quarter and 28-13 midway through the second quarter before the Kats went on a 12-0 run to draw within three. Tipton’s Ben Humrichous hit a nice fadeaway baseline jumper in the closing seconds to make it 30-25 at halftime.
Humrichous took over in the third quarter. The 6-foot-8 wing showed all of his offensive skills as he had two dunks, a long 3-pointer, midrange jumpers and a putback basket. He scored 16 points in the quarter as the Blue Devils surged to a 56-41 lead.
Savion Barrett scored to ignite the Kats’ 25-0 run and Shayne Spear followed with with a 3-pointer. Jackson Richards hit a triple midway through the quarter to bring the Kats within 59-55. At that point, the Kats already had five players score in the quarter.
“We have options,” Bobby Wonnell said. “When we move the ball, it’s dangerous if you’re on the other team. We just started clicking and I’m glad we did.”
Bobby Wonnell brought the Kats within 59-58 with a corner 3-pointer at 2:05. After Tipton committed a turnover, Richards hit another 3 for a 61-59 lead.
Richards was 1 of 9 from the field through the first three quarters, but was money when the Kats needed it.
“I started out rough, but that was a big shot. I just let it go and it was good,” Richards said.
After Tipton missed a shot, Spear made it 63-59 by making both ends of a one-and-bonus at :42. Ta’Shy Stewart split two free throws at :20 and Barrett made both ends at :12 to cap the Kats’ 25-0 run.
Barrett finished with 16 points and six rebounds. R.J. Ogleslby had 10 points and five rebounds. Richards had eight points and seven assists. Spear also had eight points and three assists.
Humrichous led the Devils with 25 points, 12 rebounds, four blocked shots and two assists. But the Kats held him scoreless in the fourth quarter. He was held without a shot until the final minute as the Devils’ offense sputtered.
“He’s so big and so good and so skilled,” Bob Wonnell said. “We kind of switched some guys around on him, put three or four different guys throughout the course of the game. He played 32 minutes and they need him to do just about everything. I think maybe toward the end of the game, he was wearing down a little bit and we started to pick up our pressure a little bit and sped them up.”
Swan, Noah Wolfe and Dalton Money had 10 points apiece for the Devils. Wolfe also had 10 rebounds and three assists and Money also had three assists.
“This [series], coming into [Saturday], three of three last six went to overtime. Tipton is a fantastic program and they’re not scared of Kokomo. We knew it was going to be a dogfight,” Bob Wonnell said.