Kentwood beats Jackson to win Class 4A state boys title

TACOMA — The size of Kentwood beat the speed of Jackson in the Class 4A boys basketball championship game on Saturday night.

UCLA-bound Joshua Smith had 22 points, 16 rebounds and five assists to lead Kentwood to the title with a 67-58 win over the Timberwolves.

Smith, a 6-foot-9, 290-pound center, had seven points and three assists in the third quarter to help the Conquerors build a 14-point lead.

“He was the difference,” Kentwood coach Michael Angelidis said about Smith. “He put us on his back. With the help of a supporting cast that also is very good, we are able to celebrate this moment.”

Alec Wilson added 14 points for Kentwood (20-10) of Covington.

Brett Kingma scored 16, Mike Wishko 13 and Marshall Massengale 12 for Jackson (23-5) of Mill Creek.

The Timberwolves tried to use the speed of Kingma and his teammates to beat Kentwood. They often pushed the ball up the court after a basket by the Conquerors.

But Kingma, a junior guard, was held to only two points in the first half, making just 1 of 8 shots, including three air balls. He finished 6 of 17 on field goals.

“He’s the kind of shooter that even with a hand in his face he can make a shot,” Smith said about Kingma. “We wanted to make it tough for him.”

Smith, the tournament Most Valuable Player, scored 12 and Wilson 10 to give Kentwood a 37-29 halftime lead. Massengale had 12 in the first half, including 10 in the second quarter to help cut into Jackson’s 11-point deficit.

The Conquerors played about 10 games this season without Smith as he recovered from a knee injury. The absence of the big man gave his teammates a chance to gain confidence. But they certainly enjoy playing with him better.

“We know if Josh gets the ball and they collapse on him, we’ll be open and he’ll find us,” Wilson said. “He makes it so easy for everyone else. He brings his game every day.”

Kentwood also won the state title in 2004 and placed second in 2005. Jackson placed fifth in 2006 in its only other tournament appearance.

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