Kentwood ousts Kentridge, 74-54 | Prep Boys Basketball
Joshua Smith's 22 points and 19 rebounds led Kentwood past rival Kentridge 74-54 in a loser-out district playoff game.
Seattle Times staff reporter
AUBURN — Joshua Smith made sure he gets one more game. And he wants even more than that.
Smith, a 6-foot-9 senior, had 22 points and 19 rebounds as seventh-ranked Kentwood beat rival Kentridge Tuesday night, 74-54, in a loser-out game of the West Central 4A District boys basketball tournament at Auburn High School.
The Conquerors (15-11) are one win from their first state berth since Smith's freshman year. They play Beamer of Federal Way Friday at 8 p.m. at Foss of Tacoma in one last loser-out game. The Titans (17-7) stayed alive with a wild, 56-55 victory over Mount Tahoma of Tacoma.
Smith, who has signed with UCLA and recently was named a McDonald's All-American, doesn't want this season to end the way the last two have, just short of the state tournament.
"Friday could be my last game," Smith said. "I'm going to make sure it's not."
Kentwood led Kentridge just 27-24 at halftime, but Smith finished strong with 13 points and 14 rebounds after intermission.
"He's a big force," said Kentridge junior Gary Bell, who led the Chargers (14-10) with 27 points as Washington coach Lorenzo Romar watched from the Kentridge stands.
Bell and Smith play on the same select team during the summer and Bell had nothing but well-wishes for the Conquerors after Tuesday's game.
"I told Tre (Tyler) and Josh to keep it (a state berth) in Kent ... bring back the trophy," Bell said.
Last year, Bell celebrated as Kentridge ended Kentwood's season, then went on to finish third at state. Tuesday's game was all Kentwood early as the Conquerors rolled to a 22-7 lead. But the Chargers closed the gap in the second quarter and took a brief lead in the third, 42-41.
Smith's putback at the buzzer gave Kentwood a 49-44 lead going into the fourth, then the Conquerors took control with an 11-1 run.
Kentwood coach Michael Angelidis liked the way his players responded to last week's loss to Decatur, a team the Conquerors had beaten by 20 the week before.
"We went back to playing loose and we went back to playing aggressive," Angelidis said. "We just had one bad game Friday. It happens."
Smith had plenty of help Tuesday as Tyler, Alec Wilson and Jason Boyce scored 14 apiece. Bell was the only player in double figures for Kentridge, which split two earlier games with Kentwood.