Martin Luther King’s boys basketball team got out to a good start Friday, nailing a 3-pointer to open the game against visiting Ensworth.
However, it was all Tigers after that.
Ensworth cranked up the defense in the second half and cruised to a 70-35 win.
“I just think we played with a greater intensity in the second half,” Ensworth coach Ricky Bowers said. “I think we actually got in a stance. We really were committed to doing what we were trying to do in the second half.”
The Tigers answered the opening 3-pointer with a an 8-0 run to take a 14-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, then started the second quarter on a 10-0 stretch to push their lead to 24-9 before the Royals were able to answer with three straight buckets.
M.L. King (5-4) managed to trim the lead to just 10 at halftime, but Ensworth (7-0) came out of the locker room on fire to start the third with a 15-0 run.
“I told them it’s 10 points and the first four minutes of the second half are crucial,” M.L. King coach Brent Burns said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get it done there in the second half.”
The Royals struggled to get back into the game after that and fell victim to a string of turnovers and a five-block performance from Ensworth senior Desmond Cambridge.
“He’s a very good shot blocker,” Bowers said. “He has a really good sense of timing, and as you can tell, he enjoys blocking shots.”
Tennessee signee Jordan Bone led the way for the Tigers with 17 points while Donovan Henry also had 17 for the Royals.
Bowers is excited to see just how good Ensworth can be.
“We have a lot of stuff we haven’t covered,” Bowers said. “But this is an exciting team; they’re going to be fun to watch.”
Ensworth girls 61, MLK 34: Jordyn Cambridge scored a game-high 21 points for Ensworth against the defending Class AA state champions.
Ensworth (4-1) used a 19-6 third quarter to pull away from MLK (2-4), and managed to hold the eight Lady Royals’ scorers to single-digits.
Eirene Francis was MLK’s leading scorer with nine points.
Reach Sam Brown at 615-259-8232 and on Twitter @SamBrownTN.