The road to a championship is a familiar one for the Kickapoo boys basketball team, but it doesn’t come without challengers.
Friday afternoon, the Chiefs squared off with the Trojans of Troy Buchanan in the Class 6 State Semifinals.
Defense dominated the first quarter, as the two teams only combined for 11 total points. Reese Kimrey’s layup gave Kickapoo a 9-2 advantage.
Trojans tried to rally in the second, Charlie Nett hits nothing but. Two of his team-high 16 points pulled Troy within 5.
Right before the half, Chiefs defense flexes it’s muscle. Shaun Campbell denies Jack Fessenden. Kickapoo led 21-14 at the break.
Midway through the 3rd, Trae Oetting gets 2 of his 16 points on the backdoor layup. Chiefs push their edge to 9.
And that play was so effective, it works at the end of the quarter. Oetting helps Kickapoo take a 31-18 lead to the 4th.
And from there, the flood gates opened up. Chiefs forced a dozen Trojan turnovers. Our Athlete of the Week Brayden Shorter does the rest. He scored a game-high 19 points. Brown and gold enjoying an 18 point cushion.
With over 5 minutes left in regulation, Harrison Doenning sticks the proverbial arrow in the Trojans with the and-1. Kickapoo holds Troy to a season-low 33 points to advance to their 2nd state title game in 3 years.
“We have a played a hard schedule down the stretch in this playoff time and in March,” said Chiefs head coach Mitch McHenry. “And for us to answer the bell, or question, in whatever game, we have not had many bad quarters in the last five games or whatever this playoff run has been. We’re gonna have to have that same consistency and fight tomorrow.”
“I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it’s real,” said Kickapoo guard Brayden Shorter. “We’ve worked so hard for this. We deserve it. Just standing at the free throw line it was hard not to smile because I’m just so excited.”
Kickapoo will face Staley in Saturday’s championship game. The contest will be a rematch from January’s Tournament of Champions. Staley handed Kickapoo a 31- point loss, winning 73-42.