by Kenny Hetzler
For the Pharos-Tribune
Defense played a key role in Lewis Cass’ 83-41 win over North Miami in season-opening boys basketball action here Wednesday night.
The Warriors committed 30 turnovers of which the Kings ended up with 20 steals.
“We are going to have to hang our hats on defense with our lack of size,” Cass coach Jon Kitchel said. “We’ve got to get out there and put a lot of pressure on teams and be smart. I wasn’t real happy with our fouling. We got to be aggressive without fouling. We did a lot of reaching. There were a lot of things that I was happy about, but there are a lot of things that we need to work on between now and Logansport in the county tournament.”
Cass took advantage of nine Warrior turnovers in the first quarter to lead 21-6 at the break. Blake Hadley led the charge, scoring seven of his game-high 16 points.
Fellow senior Kings guard Austin Keisling wasn’t too far behind in scoring nine of Cass’ 29 points in the second quarter as the Kings led 50-16 at halftime. Keisling ended up with a total of 14 for the game.
“Keisling and Hadley will be consistent for us this year. They are seniors and they have a lot of varsity experience,” Kitchel said. “Both of them are good shooters and good scorers, and they are smart basketball players. If we could get some things out of our inside game like Victor DeJesus with what he did on the boards, I think we will be fun to watch.”
Cass came out after halftime and really turned on its jets with another 21-8 run in the third for a 71-24 lead at halftime. Ryan Bixler was the main player with scoring seven of his 10 points.
“Bixler had a real solid game,” Kitchel added. “He is kind of our floor general out there. He is what makes the machine run. He knows what he can do and what he cannot do.”
The fourth quarter was a little bit different with North Miami outscoring Cass 17-12. But that was mostly after the junior varsity players got to get varsity minutes.
Keisling led with six steals, followed by Hadley’s five.
Damon Gipson led North Miami with 14 points.
Cass faces Logan on Tuesday at the Berry Bowl.