Strong start for Kenwood Broncos in tournament

By JOSEPH PHILLIPS
Sports Writer

In their first year playing in the 11th Annual Bill VandeMerkt Thanksgiving Classic Basketball Tournament, the Kenwood boys varsity basketball team made a statement in their first game of the season against the Rich Central High School Olympians.

“It’s important that we play with a lot of energy and intensity in our first game,” said coach Jim Maley. “We needed to jump out on this team early and fast.”

And that they did.

With tournament games being scheduled later in the week against revered opponents such as Brother Rice, Riverside Brookfield, and 18th-ranked Oak Park River Forest, the Broncos did not want to take their first opponent lightly, and they dominated the first half with their signature full-court pressure defense (that forced a game-high 34 turnovers) and a well-balanced offensive attack led by 6-foot, 3-inch junior guard Rahamanh Katumbusi, who scorched the Olympians for 15 first half points, while propelling his team to a 39-24 lead.

“This is our first time facing this team,” said Katumbusi.

“We had no scouting report, or information on their players,” Katumbusi said. “And we went out and balled.”

Despite a lack of information on the Olympians, the second half remained the same as senior Joell Davis keyed several runs with his infectious defense while contributing  a season-high 18 points.

“We did what our coach told us to do, which was pressure their guards and force them into turnovers.” Davis said.

“We never let up – non-stop.”

Final Score: Kenwood 76, Rich South 58

j.bishku@hpherald.com