Bucs win third at State, defeat Lindbergh Eagles 57-46 | State basketball

Kingston's Richie Sander kisses the Buccaneer's third place, 2A trophy after winning 57-46 over the Lindbergh Eagles Saturday afternoon at the Hardwood Classic in the Yakima Valley SunDome.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson/ Herald

TACOMA -- Kingston was back in full force Saturday afternoon. The team's defense, which became a cornerstone of the team this season, made itself known and the Bucs had the best free-throw game in program history.

With that, the Bucs took third place in the 2A State Tournament in the Yakima Valley SunDome after defeating the Lindbergh Eagles 57-46.

"The magic just kept going," Brady Sundquist said following the win. "We just stuck to our game, played D, and stopped [James Keum]."

The Bucs defense was able to hold Eagles' star player James Keum to nine points. The Bucs accumulated 25 defensive rebounds and 15 offensive rebounds.

Offensively, Sam Byers topped the chart on points with 23, including going 8/8 on free throws. KT Deam scored 13 and was 7/8 in free throws. Richie Sander landed four three-pointers for a total of 12. And Cody Combs went 2/2 in free throws and hit two three-pointers.

In all, the Bucs landed 18/20 free throws for a 90 percent completion rate. Previously, the Bucs were 7/16 against the Lynden Lions Friday night and 16/23 Thursday night against the Anacortes Seahawks.

"We hit big free throws," Kingston Coach Blake Conley said. "Ninety percent has never been done."

Austin Franklin led the Eagles with 12 points.

Conley knew the Eagles were not going to be able to shoot as consistently in the second half as they did in the first. The Eagles outscored the Bucs 14-11 in the second quarter. The Bucs held the Eagles to eight points in the third and 14 in the fourth.

"We decided to pick it up defensively," Combs said. "Get the ball no matter what. It was out last game, so we were going to throw it all out there."

Combs and Sander hit three-pointers that sent the Bucs into a comfortable lead and Conley credited Sander with being able to shut Keum down.

Kingston's Sam Byers, who was named the Olympic League MVP recently, said the team's unselfishness helped win the game and is what defined the Bucs as a team.

With the second third-place State win in a row, the Bucs will lose eight players to graduation. Conley expects to see KT Deam, Henry English, Hans Schippers and Connor Wall back next season.

"We're going to miss these guys," Conley said of the graduating players. "They've put such a stamp on Kingston basketball.

"They've shown the blueprint for what it looks like to not only be a good team, but good young men."


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