It’s unusual for the No. 3 seed to host a first-round game against a No. 6 seed who swept them in the regular season. But hey, what would a COVID postseason look like without a couple abnormalities?
The Rossview Hawks welcomed the Kenwood Knights to their gym on Monday night for the District 10-AAA quarterfinals with a ticket to the region tournament on the line. Despite having lost both previous meetings this season by double digits, the Hawks emerged victorious 59-45, ending Kenwood’s season.
A defensive tone was set early in the contest, with the Knights being held to only two points in the first quarter, though the Hawks’ 11 didn’t put them too far out of reach. However, it wasn’t until the third quarter that KHS even gained any ground on Rossview, putting together a 15-8 run that finished with guard Jaylen Washington pulling up from the logo to sink a three-pointer, narrowing the lead to just five points.
The Hawks quickly nipped the momentum in the bud, though, before putting the Knights away with a 21-12 fourth period.
“I just thought that physically, they kicked our tail the first two games,” said RHS head coach Johnny Jackson. “I think that they shot well, they were physical, and they ran their game plan to a T. Tonight, I just thought that we matched their physicality and defensively, we were really good.
“I just thought they sped us up in the last two times we played them, and we had no energy when we played them. We just didn’t show up and tonight we did. It was do or die, win or go home. This group loves each other, and they want to keep playing together. I thought our effort was better.”
Rossview got offensive contributions from three main cogs: Tim Williams, Spencer Mimms and Eli Colvin. The trio combined for 46 points while forward Ronald Jessamy’s imposing presence forced Kenwood to avoid the paint and settle for contested jump shots. Additionally, their physicality got them to the free throw line early and often. The team finished with 29 points from the charity stripe.
Kenwood’s offense struggled to gain momentum most of the night. They made just nine field goals inside the arc and, because they were often forced outside, rarely drew contact. They made just six of their 12 free throw attempts.
One bright spot for the Knights was their outside shooting; they made seven three-pointers – all from the hands of Washington and Kemari McIntosh – but weren’t efficient enough to completely close the gap.
That type of inconsistently is what landed Kenwood in the No. 6 seed to begin with.
“We were up-and-down,” said KHS head coach Jason James. “We weren’t consistent enough to be the basketball team that we needed to be. Our consistency wasn’t very good on a nightly basis.
“It’s hard to beat a team three times. They came ready to roll. Our energy wasn’t where it needed to be. They took control of the game early, and we were playing from behind.”
The Knights finish the season with a 9-8 mark in district play.
Rossview will move on to face rival Clarksville, the No. 2 seed, on Tuesday night. It will be the first ever postseason meeting between the two programs.
The schools split their regular season series with the most recent game being a 78-69 Wildcat victory at CHS.
Rossview (59): Tim Williams 19, Spencer Mimms 15, Eli Colvin 12, Ty Butler 6, Messiah Ward 3, Ronald Jessamy 2, Julian Hatfield 2, Bryant Rippy 1.
Kenwood (45): Jalen Washington 19, Kemari McIntosh 14, Quentavious Barnes 5, Caleb Grady 2, Nic Boykin 2, Giovanni Hernandez 2, Amari Kimble 1.