Back at the state tournament and at Borah High for the fifth year in a row, Bishop Kelly saved one of its most dominant performance of the season for Thursday.
The Knights crushed Jerome 68-42 in the first round of the 4A boys basketball state tournament, running away with a 26-point victory — their largest of the season — to cruise into the state semifinals, where they face a familiar opponent.
Bishop Kelly (20-4) takes on Preston (21-4) at 6:15 p.m. Friday in a rematch of last year’s state championship game, which Preston won.
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“Tomorrow, it’s going to be about who plays more as a team,” Bishop Kelly coach Ryan Kerns said. “That’s going to be our goal together — play as a team, play fast. When we do that, we put ourselves in great positions.”
Jerome (15-11) never could match or adjust to Bishop Kelly’s breakneck speed Thursday, committing 20 turnovers against the Knights’ 1-2-2 three-quarter court trap. With the 6-3 Bronson King at the top, the Tigers hesitated to bring the ball across halfcourt, getting whistled for several 10-second backcourt violations.
“We’ve put some defensive presses in to play the game at our tempo,” Bishop Kelly senior Vince Sengelmann said. “We put some new ones in this week, and they’re working out for us.”
Sengelmann led the Knights with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting and eight rebounds after a sprained ankle sidelined starter Raoul Johnson. Kerns said Johnson is questionable for Friday.
“He just played the same role, to be honest, that he’s been doing every game for us,” Kerns said of Sengelmann. “But in this game, his minutes got maximized because he and Raoul can’t share time anymore.”
King added 12 points, Max Rice totaled nine points and six assists, and Jacob Russell added eight points and eight rebounds for Bishop Kelly.
Logan Geist scored 13 points to pace Jerome, which faces Moscow (8-12) in the consolation semifinals at 1:15 p.m. Friday at Borah.