Boys basketball: Kiona-Benton overpowers Connell in SCAC East action

January 8, 2013 

Cristian Aguilar and Mick Phelps have been working together for so long for Kiona-Benton in both football and basketball, that they sometimes make the very difficult look easy.

The senior pair did it again Tuesday night, combining for 30 points and 21 rebounds in the Bears’ 63-36 win over Connell in Benton City.

The two teams were both 3-0 in the SCAC East, but Ki-Be left little doubt at the end of the night as to who the better team was.

Don’t expect the Bears to start celebrating another league title yet, though.

“We don’t say those words,” Phelps said. “We’ve still got the entire second half of the season left, and there’s a lot of strong teams out there. One bad game leads to two and there goes your title.”

But Kiona-Benton played with all the confidence and swagger of a first-place team. Connell grabbed the first lead of the night, 2-0, on a pair of free throws by Tanner Erickson, but it was all Bears after that.

Tony Cortez started a 15-2 run with the first of his three treys on the night. Aguilar got into the act, too, draining the first of four 3s as Ki-Be took a 15-4 lead after 3 minutes.

“We just played our game tonight. We set the tone with our shooting, and after that it was whoever was open,” Aguilar said.

The Eagles fought back in the second quarter, outscoring the Bears 16-11 to cut Ki-Be’s halftime lead to 26-22. But Connell started ice cold in the third quarter, missing its first nine shots while the Bears built a 36-22 advantage.

The Eagles shot just 24 percent (12 for 50) for the game.

“We watched film of them, and we were just better prepared. We were a lot more cohesive,” Phelps said.

Aguilar led all scorers with 16 and had 12 rebounds. Phelps finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, while Cortez added 12 points.

Carter Chase led Connell with 11 points.

CONNELL — Holst 10, Davidson, Erickson 7, Carter Chase 11, Hopkins 4, Lyle, Borgens, Li 3, Forsyth, Syrie 1. Totals 12-50 8-12 36.

KIONA-BENTON — Cortez 12, Garcia 8, Cristian Aguilar 16, Solorzano 6, Christensen 6, Mick Phelps 14, Cisneros 2, Ramirez. Totals 25-48 4-9 63.

Connell 6 16 3 11 — 36

Kiona-Benton 15 11 17 21 — 63

Highlights — 3-pointers: C 4 (Brendan Holst 2, Tanner Erickson, Shion Li), KB 10 (Aguilar 4, Tony Cortez 3, Jose Solorzano 2, Garcia); Rebounds: C 21 (Carter Chase 7), KB 40 (Aguilar 12, Mick Phelps 9); Turnovers: C 5, KB 7.

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