In the uptempo City League boys basketball showdown on Friday, Rogers forced 29 turnovers and dropped Bowsher 97-68 on the road.
Senior guard Tony Kynard led the Rams with 16 points. Seniors Clemmye Owens and Tribune Dailey, and junior Omari Hicks each finished with 14 points. Senior Keandre Gilmer had 13 points and senior DeVonte Pratt chipped in with 12 points, while junior Alejandro Williams added 10.
“It's always good when you don't know who is going to score,” Rogers coach Earl Morris said. “These guys are unselfish. They like to pass. They don't care [who scores]. They just want to win the game.”
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Rogers, the defending City champs, improved to 4-1 overall and remained undefeated (3-0) in league play.
Both teams feature explosive offenses. Bowsher came into the contest averaging 92.5 points per game, while Rogers entered the game averaging 90.6.
The veteran Rams, who have eight seniors and three four-year players, seemed better equipped to handle the raucous atmosphere and mad-scramble pace.
“We knew coming in they would try to run with us but we knew we were the smarter team and that the better defense would win this game,” said Kynard, who scored 11 in the second half. “That's what we came out and did.”
Bowsher (6-2) was held to a season-low in points and lost for the first time in the City (3-1).
“They have a lot of seniors and they've been through some battles,” Bowsher coach Joe Guerrero said. “Tonight was new for a lot of our guys. But we will be better because of it. You can't practice this environment. This was amazing.”
Bowsher junior Dajuan King led all scorers with 23 points. Aundre Kizer finished with 16 points, while Cameron White added 11.
Rogers led by eight at the half but expanded it to 16 after three quarters. The Rams forced 14 turnovers in the first half and 15 more in the second half.
“Once we want to play defense, we can,” Morris said.
Many of the miscues led to transition buckets for Rogers, which seized a 42-34 lead at the half.
“I thought the first half we showed a lot of grit,” Guerrero said. “But in the second half, we turned the ball over too much, and that was the story of the game. Every time we turned the ball over it seemed like it led to a layup.”
Rogers led by three after the first quarter despite holding a 12-4 edge in rebounding. The Rams had 10 offensive boards and forced eight Rebel turnovers but were up just 23-19.
Moments after Kizer had a one-handed dunk to the delight of the home crowd to make it a three-point contest, Hicks answered with a 3-pointer late in the second quarter.
Rogers opened the second half with an 11-3 run, including a 3 from Kynard, to open up a 53-37 lead.
“You know you don't have to score every time because if someone is having a bad night, everyone else can score,” Kynard said. “That takes off pressure.”
Two straight Rebel turnovers led to a quick 5-0 spurt as Rogers went up by as many as 19 in the third. The Rams took a 20-point lead on Williams three-point play with 4:13 left and led by 27 late.
“We knew win or lose tonight, our season wasn't over,” Guerrero said. “Obviously they are a better team than us. We have a long way to go but we have to get a heck of a lot better. “
Rogers, which finished with a 39-32 edge on the boards, was tabbed as the preseason favorite to repeat as CL champs.
Mark Washington came off the bench and had a seven rebounds and King had six for Bowsher, which was picked to finish third behind Scott.
“Bowsher is a good team,” Morris said. “They don't score 100 points for nothing. But we just had to come out here and play. It's a good win for us.”
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