Kingston girls get it done against Fife

KINGSTON — Kevin Strozier has a message for teams headed to Kingston High School to play his varsity girls’ basketball team: Welcome to Kingston and you had better be ready to play.

His message to his team? Play hard from start to finish — the game isn’t over until the buzzer screams. Nothing punctuated this more than the Bucs’ at-home 60-33 victory over Fife.

He means no disrespect to opponents, he just wants his team to play hard for the whole game, he said.

“This was a big win for us. This was a big win because it’s a school we’ll probably see again in district league play. We sent a nice message that if you’re going to play against Kingston, you need to play. I think everyone we’ve played so far has gotten that message,” he said.

It would have been easy for the Bucs to throw in the towel at the half, as they were leading 26-11. But Strozier wouldn’t allow that.

“We’ve got to learn once we get up on teams to wait until the game is over. We have to play hard until there are double zeroes on that thing and the horn blows,” Strozier said. “Not to be unsportsmanlike, we just need to keep the pedal to the metal.”

Freshman Sophia Baetz had another game for the history books, hitting 16 points for the Bucs. Her leadership on offense sparked some inner debate for Strozier, as he had to decide whether to include Baetz as a starter. He decided against it.

“Sophia played really good basketball,” Strozier said. “I like her coming off the bench for us. When she comes in, she changes the tempo a little bit. I expect a lot from my point guard and she had to get used to me expecting that from her.”

One of the points Strozier repeats to his team is every player on the court makes a difference, regardless of whether they have a point tally at the end of the game.

“Arissan Ugles is my post player and she’s doing a good job. She has to play defense, she has to rebound and she has to score,” Strozier said. “We have a couple of girls on this team whose role is to play defense and rebound and it’s not about putting the ball into the basket.”

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