ROYAL CENTER — First-year Pioneer boys basketball coach Austin Cowley was all smiles Monday night as his squad picked up its first win of the season defeating the North Miami Warriors 59-44.
“The feeling is awesome. It’s always nice to win, and this one was big,” Cowley said.
After a sluggish start, the Panthers (1-4) finally starting rolling in the second quarter. Trailing the Warriors 11-9, Pioneer sophomore Sam Kiser stole a North Miami pass and quickly moved the ball down court finding fellow sophomore Caleb Kindley who took the ball up strong for a basket. Fouled on the play, Kindley completed the go-ahead 3-point play with an “and one” free-throw.
The Panthers never looked back, outscoring the Warriors 19-8 in the second quarter for a 28-19 halftime lead.
“We have been working pretty hard at being strong and aggressive, and that’s starting to show,” said Cowley.
Kiser, who finished the game with five assists, ran an efficient offense in the second half as Pioneer quickly started putting the game out of reach.
“Kiser was a floor general [Monday], I thought he made same nice passes, and showed confidence as a leader,” said Cowley.
Pioneer senior Bradley Biggs exploded in the second half, nearly making every shot he took. He scored 15 points in the half.
“I thought Coach Cowely did a good job getting us in the right offense, and we played great as team,” said Biggs.
Biggs, who plans on going into the Navy after graduation, finished with a team-high 19 points.
“Brad worked pretty hard this offseason, and became a physical player, and that definitely showed [Monday],” said Cowley. “We did a lot of good things, we improved [Monday] on the things we needed to.”
Kindley was also key in Pioneer’s home opener, recording 15 points to go with six rebounds and three assists.
“We are starting to develop some chemistry on the court. It feels good to get that first win and we are going to continue working hard and get better,” said Kindley.
Kiser finished 10 points and three rebounds to with his five assists. Also scoring for the Panthers were Zach Mason with eight, Chad Clifford with six, and JP Smith with one.