The Archbishop Murphy boys basketball team hung around like a bunch of pesky gnats and wouldn’t go away.
King’s, the No. 1 ranked team in Class 1A by WashingtonPreps.com, finally held off the unheralded Wildcats 53-48 Dec. 20 at Mike Martin gym, but it was not a satisfying win on the victors’ Homecoming night.
“I want to give them credit,” said King’s coach Marv Morris, who described his team’s effort as nonchalant. “They came and outhustled us and outplayed us.”
Archbishop Murphy (0-1 in the Cascade Conference, 2-2 overall) trailed 28-22 at the half, and pulled within 30-29 on a 3-pointer by Jared Smith with 5:20 left in the third quarter. King’s responded with a 13-1 run to close out the quarter, but the Wildcats managed to stay within eight, 46-38, midway through the final quarter.
A layup by Trey Wright with a minute and a half left put King’s up 51-39, but the Wildcats didn’t quit, closing the game on a 9-2 run.
“I knew it had to be a low-scoring game and it was a matter of stealing it in the fourth quarter,” Archbishop Murphy coach Jerry Zander said. “I was proud of their effort. (But) one of the kids said ‘we’re not satisfied with this.’ They need to learn to finish games and get wins.”
King’s 6-foot-10 senior post Charlie Enquist led all scorers with 17 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots. He dunked after a lob pass from Erich Fuhlendorf in the first quarter, but for most of the night his points didn’t come easily with the double- and triple-teams used by the Wildcats.
“It was tough,” Enquist said. “It was hard to run up the court, they were bodying me.”
“We wanted to be physical on him,” Zander said. “He’s 6-10 and he towers over anyone we have. It’s definitely something we concentrated on this week. I thought our kids did a pretty good job of it.”
The Wildcats played aggressively and challenged the bigger Knights on the boards but their 26 turnovers proved to be too much to overcome.
J.D. Melton and Joey Clancy each scored 13 points to lead the Wildcats.
Meanwhile, Morris said the Knights need to get Enquist the ball more often.
“We’re going to make some changes if it doesn’t start getting to him more,” he said.
King’s senior guard Spencer Clark said, “Our points were off individual stuff. Turnovers were ridiculous. It was flat out not King’s basketball.”
Morris went with completely different lineups in the first and second quarters to give his top 10 players all a chance to see significant minutes.
“I want to give them all a fair shot,” said Morris, who planned to stay with the experiment for only one more game. “I need to see who’s going to play and who’s not.”
With five new players in the main rotation, King’s (1-0, 2-0) needs to build chemistry.
“It will probably take some time,” Enquist said. “In a couple more games we’ll start clicking.”