GENOA – Hinckley-Big Rock boys basketball coach Bill Sambrookes wasn’t going to understate how big Tuesday’s 51-40 victory over Genoa-Kingston was for his team.
The Royals (13-3) got off to a quick start, leading by eight points at the end of the first quarter, and did a good job of not letting the Cogs (10-6) back into the contest, holding a comfortable lead throughout the fourth quarter.
After his team’s win, Sambrookes called the victory possibly the biggest one of the year, to this point, for H-BR.
“I think it’s a huge win. We’ve had a tough road since about the middle of December. Some really tough opponents,” Sambrookes said. “ ... I know Corey [Jenkins]. He has his kids playing hard and I knew they were going to come after us. I think this is a huge win. This game is as big as any game we’ve had so far this year, in my eyes.”
The Royals, a Class 1A school, were going up against a Class 3A team, on the road no less. Senior guard Jared Madden had 12 points for H-BR, and talked about how Sambrookes has been preaching defense lately. Madden and the Royals really got after it Tuesday, holding G-K to 40 points.
“Genoa’s a really good school,” he said. “Some quick guards, good shooters too. I think it showed how far our defense has come this year.”
In order to stop H-BR’s strong guard play, the Cogs concentrated on causing problems for the Royals on the perimeter, making players like Madden and Bernie Conley, who finished with nine points, work on the offensive end.
However, H-BR had no problem getting the ball inside. Zach Michels finished with 11 points for the Royals, often causing problems in the post. Off the bench, senior 6-5 forward Nick Gentry had eight points in the second half for H-BR.
“We knew Michels could play down there, he uses his body well,” Jenkins said. “ They’re an experienced team, there’s a reason they’ve played three years on varsity, some of these kids on his team.”
In the first half, it was Michels who did the damage down low for the Royals, before Gentry took over in the second. Gentry’s play surprised Jenkins and impressed Sambrookes.
“Nick I just thought played an outstanding second half,” Sambrookes said. “ …Those inside looks help us on the perimeter. A lot of that was how tough G-K was playing on the outside.”
Adam Price led the Cogs with 12 points. Tommy Lucca finished with 10.