By Rick Conrad
For the Pharos-Tribune
The Lewis Cass Kings opened their season with a convincing win over the visiting North Miami Warriors, 65-45, Wednesday night.
A balanced scoring attack paved the wave for Cass as four starters hit for double figures in the game. Ryan Aldridge led the Kings with 13 points, including a nice baseline drive that ended with a dunk. That basket sparked an 8-0 run that ended the second quarter.
Austin Keisling and Blake Hadley each had 11 points, while Jordan Miller chipped in 10.
Cass coach Jon Kitchel was pleased with his squad’s performance in the first game.
“Overall the effort was really good. The guys played hard, but our post defense was poor. Plus, we had some silly fouls that we shouldn’t have had. We’re not going to be extremely deep this year, so we have to keep our key players out of foul trouble.
“We’ve got some things to work on, but I like the feel of this team. The chemistry is just tremendous and I think we’re going to have a fun season.”
Cass jumped on the Warriors early, scoring the first eight points of the game before North Miami coach Clay Bolser called his first timeout with just 1:53 gone in the game. Behind an active offense and an equally active defense, Cass went on to an 18-6 lead after one quarter of play.
The pressure Cass was putting on the Warriors continued to work as it gave North Miami problems again in the second frame. The Warrior guards time and again had difficulty getting the ball inside to Ethan Beech, who was the Warriors’ lone bright spot during the first half. The Kings continued pushing the ball on offense and built their half-time lead to 39-18.
Cass switched to a zone to open up the second half and still kept pushing the ball on the offensive end. The result was the Kings dictating the pace of the game and building the lead to 53-27 after three quarters of play.
In the fourth quarter the Kings went deep into their bench while maintaining their lead. As with the first half, the Kings continued having difficulty stopping the 6-4 Beech inside. The senior just missed a double-double by finishing the game with a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds.
Miller led Cass with eight boards while Aldridge added seven of his own.
With the Cass bench playing the majority of the fourth quarter, the Kings went on to the 65-45 final.
“I thought everyone played pretty good for our first time out,” said Aldridge. “We have a couple things to work on, but we played together as a team and played hard.”