By Zach Shugan
ALPHARETTA, Ga. — It’s no stretch to say the King’s Ridge boys basketball team is in the midst of its best season in program history.
Thursday night, King’s Ridge (17-4, 12-3) defeated Fellowship, 69-45, breaking the program record for most wins in a season, which the team set earlier in the week when it picked up a forfeit win over Mt. Bethel. Prior to that, the program record for most wins in a season belonged to the 2015-16 team, which finished 15-12.
This year’s group has only two seniors, Christian Stoner and Davis Dunn, who were honored before Thursday’s game for senior night. Otherwise, most of the Tigers’ key contributors are underclassmen such as sophomores Isaac Martin and Micah Hoover and juniors Carson Wolfel and Liam Thomas.
All of the aforementioned players are capable of scoring in droves, and they all seem to get their turn in the spotlight at some point during the game. The Tigers swing the ball around quickly on offense, often hitting wide open shots that come off assists.
“It’s an absolute blast,” King’s Ridge head coach Bob Martin said. “I got the greatest kids around right here. They are the best players a coach could ever have, no doubt about it. They spend a considerable amount of time in the gym shooting the ball, and they do like each other a lot. It makes it a lot easier. I have a great job.”
King’s Ridge jumped out to 14-2 lead in the first few minutes against Fellowship, powered by Isaac Martin’s 9 points. The Tigers led 22-6 at the end of the quarter, with Martin scoring 12 of their 22 points.
King’s Ridge built on their lead in the second quarter, as the Paladins were unable to slow down the Tigers offensively and turned the ball over multiple times on the other end of the court.
Hoover, who posted 8 points and 3 rebounds in the first half, had two fastbreak dunks in the second quarter, and King’s Ridge led 39-21 at halftime.
Fellowship opened the second half on a 8-2 run, prompting a timeout from Bob Martin. The Tigers were able to re-gain control and get momentum back on their side, finishing the third quarter on a run of their own to lead 50-33 entering the final quarter.
The fourth quarter saw the status quo remain intact, as the Tigers handled the Paladins for their fourth win in a row.
“We have a bad habit of getting up early and then letting up,” Bob Martin said. “Once we get through that, I think we’ll be okay. It’s nice that we give ourselves a cushion. I’m not going to deny that. When we can maintain our mental toughness and focus for the duration with our top eight or nine guys, it’s a pretty fun team to watch.”
King’s Ridge plays Friday at Mt. Bethel in its final game of the regular season before turning its attention to the Region 6-A Private tournament, where a win in the first round would send the team to the state playoffs for the first time in its three years under Bob Martin.
“Tonight we broke another record,” he said. “Hopefully tomorrow night we’ll break another record, and that’s the goal.”
King’s Ridge Tigers
Isaac Martin (So.) – 26 pts, 4 reb, 4 asst, 1 blk
Micah Hoover (So.) – 15 pts, 8 reb
Liam Thomas (Jr.) – 11 pts, 3 reb
Christian Stoner (Sr.) – 6 pts, 7 reb, 1 asst, 1 blk
Dylan Sears (Jr.) – 6 pts, 1 reb
Carson Wolfel (Jr.) – 3 pts, 3 reb, 2 asst
Davis Dunn (Sr.) – 2 pts, 2 reb, 3 asst
Nate Kittredge (Fr.) – 1 reb
Brady Niblock (Sr.) – 14 pts, 8 reb
London Griggers (Sr.) – 9 pts, 8 reb, 2 asst, 1 blk
A.J. Salvadori (Sr.) – 9 pts, 2 reb, 5 blk
Benny Lorenzo (Jr.) – 6 pts
Zak Thomas (So.) – 5 pts
Mac Madden (Sr.) – 4 reb
Walton Wade (Jr.) – 1 reb