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Kenston Forest begins the season at 1-2

Kenston Forest School’s varsity boys basketball team has started its season in competitive fashion, going 1-2 after two close losses and an 18-point win.

The win came Friday, Jan. 15, as the Kavaliers defeated host Southampton Academy 60-42.

“Things came together for us during the game,” Kavs Head Coach Kelly Jones said. “We were able to minimize our mistakes on defense, and we focused on recognizing and taking shots in rhythm. I am very proud of my players, and they have earned the right to be called a team,

Team Kavaliers.”

Junior guard Kendall Thorne led the Kavs with 18 points, while junior guard Trey Lewis and senior center each scored 12 points, and junior Jacob Stallard added nine points.

The victory was a welcome transition for Kenston Forest after it fell short Tuesday, Jan. 12, in its second straight nail-biter. Visiting Tidewater Academy hit a late 3-pointer to spoil the Kavs’ home opener, 46-43.

Kenston Forest basketball got a late start to the 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but play began Friday, Jan. 8, when the varsity boys traveled to Banner Christian School and fell only narrowly to the Bearcats.

“We were up by one,” Jones said, “they got a three off with five seconds left, and we ended up losing by two.”

The Bearcats prevailed 64-62.

Despite the loss, Jones judged Kenston Forest’s opening performance to be pretty good.

“(There are) some things that we have to work on, defensively,” he said. “Everything works out perfect in practice, and then when your first game comes, there’s going to be a lot of mistakes on defensive assignments, always going to be a couple more turnovers, things that we can clean up more in practice, and the more we play this season, the better we’ll get at it.”

Leading the way statistically for the Kavs on Friday was Thorne, with 29 points, and Lewis, with 19 points.

Based on what he saw in the preseason from Kenston Forest’s 2020-21 squad, Jones said he definitely expected Thorne, a newcomer, and Lewis, a returner, to be the team’s leaders this season.

“They’re captains,” he said. “They’re going to pretty much carry the bulk of the offense, and they kind of set the tone with their defensive calls and everything.”

The coach described them as two-way players who are crafty at getting their shots up and who demonstrate good judgment.

“You can double-team them, (and) they’ll make the right play, and also they will take on the double,” he said.

Thorne and Lewis lead a team composed of six juniors, four seniors and a sophomore.

Two of the team’s seniors help comprise its starting five — Inge and forward Quinton Hawkins.

After witnessing the preseason and the first game, Jones said he expects the 2020-21 Kavaliers to definitely be a lot better than previous years.

“We have a strong offense of guards, but the biggest thing is us playing defense as a team,” he said. “If we can continue to do that and stop the minor brain farts or whatever on assignments, if it was during the full conference, I think that we would end up either anywhere between second and the fourth spot.”