WORTON — What coach Darryl Deaton described as “lights-out defense” wasn’t enough Thursday for Kent County’s junior varsity boys in their first home basketball game of the new decade.
“We couldn’t get the ball to fall,” Deaton said of the 54-46 loss to Easton.
“We took good shots but the ball didn’t fall,” Deaton said again, noting that was especially true in the third quarter when the Trojans were held to seven points.
The addition of 6-foot-4 sophomore Tylir Cunningham has provided Kent with a real presence in the post. Deaton credited Cunningham with setting the tone for a solid defensive effort against Easton.
Easton led 27-26 at the end of an evenly played first half.
The advantage was 37-33 after three periods. Kent played well defensively, holding Easton to only 10 points, but its offense was wobbly.
Easton outscored its host, 17-13, over the final eight minutes to salt away the win.
Kent led for the last time at 39-37 on Brandon Gordon’s putback off the left side of the glass about midway through the fourth quarter, finishing a 6-0 run.
Easton scored the next 10 points to surge ahead for good.
The Warriors received double-digit scoring from three players, led by Curry’s 15 points. Szymanski (11 points) and Curry combined to score nine points in the final frame.
Eric Gordon was Kent’s top scorer with 15 points. Cunningham added 10, Antoine Reid and Brandon Gordon each contributed seven, and Maikhi Tiller scored five.
Eric Gordon scored nine points in the first half, including six in the opening frame when Kent went ahead, 15-13.
Despite the outcome, Deaton said he is “seeing a lot of improvement” in a team that has only two returning players from last year. Reid and twins Eric and Brandon Gordon are really starting to assert themselves, Deaton said.
Kent (3-3) got its first win of 2020 on Jan. 7 at Snow Hill, erupting for 21 points in the fourth quarter to pull away from a close game, 57-46.
Cunningham (14 points) and Eric Gordon (24 points) each scored eight points in the fourth quarter, leading the Trojans on a game-ending 21-9 run. They trailed 37-36 at the end of the third period.
Eric Gordon totaled 14 points in the first half, helping Kent build a slim 28-24 lead.
All told, Kent received scoring from seven players: Eric Gordon, Cunningham, Brandon Gordon (seven), Ezra Kyle (five), Marcus Boyle (four), Tiller (two) and Gabe Voshell (one).