Updated: December 26, 2013 10:33PM
King coach Culumber Ball’s message wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
After watching his team’s second-half lead shrink from 26 points to 10 points Thursday at the McDipper, Ball simply stated to his bench, “It’s just basketball.”
“We got complacent,” Ball said. “We stretched that lead, and they’re kids. With a shot clock and three-pointers, it happens.”
The Jaguars’ impressive first half overpowered some fourth-quarter as they defeated a short-handed Seton squad 66-48 in the first round at Rich South.
Xavier Robinson led King (9-3) with 25 points and nine rebounds. Jessie Young added seven points and 10 rebounds.
Playing for the first time since Friday’s brawl-canceled game vs. Leo, Seton (3-6) was without coach Justin Domingo and seven players, including two starters, who were suspended. Assistant coach Jamal Thompson stated he’d been told not to comment on the suspensions or that game. The Sting dressed just six players Thursday.
King took advantage of the short-handed Sting, pressuring Seton and upping the pace. It worked early and often, the Jaguars going up 21-8 through the first quarter and 36-10 at halftime. Robinson was a force for King, scoring 11 in the second quarter including a vicious one-handed fast-break dunk.
“We go defense first on everything,” Robinson said. “I was just trying to make all my layups, all my free throws, do the simple things.”
With the game seemingly in hand in the second half, Seton came to life behind the hot-shooting of Christopher Seaton. The guard blew up for 15 points in the fourth quarter alone, including 3-of-4 shooting from long distance.
Coupled with King’s struggles inside (the Jaguars were just 7-of-21 from the floor in the fourth period), the Sting drew to within 57-47 with 3:10 remaining but got no closer.
“We’ve got to box out more and play better defense,” Robinson said. “We can’t let teams get a rhythm going so we have to play the same defense we did in the first half.”
Seaton finished with 20 points for Seton. Tim Townsel added 14.