Story and photos by Greg Mitchell
It took 10 games but finally the Nile C. Kinnick Red Devils were able to get one in the win column for the season, defeating the Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ) Knights 53-42 in front of a capacity crowd at Kinnick gym, Jan. 22.
“We lost our intensity and discipline at times but today was the closest the team has ever been to reach their goals,” said head coach Robert Stovall. “I asked them if they felt they could improve by next Monday (next game), and they felt as such. This game is definitely a positive boost for the boys.”
Tarik Deadmon led all Red Devil scorers with 20 points, followed by Josiah Ferguson with 15, but the game was typically well-balanced with each player scrapping for loose balls and fighting for position in the post.
Still, the room for improvement was there. “We had 20 turnovers in the game,” said Stovall. “I asked the boys how many points was that for the opposing team; to me each turnover equals two-points. We have to get better at that but, I really like the hustle and effort the boys put in tonight.”
“The weakness was the last five minutes of the game,” said Stovall. “That comes from me; they weren’t prepared for that. We shouldn’t make questionable passes the last five minutes of the game.”
At the sound of the buzzer, the Red Devils football team star running back, junior Dre Paylor could not help but get involved in post game theatrics by rushing the floor and congratulating each player on their victory with high-fives and booty-bumps.
“We haven’t won anything since last season! said an excited Paylor. “This is like winning a playoff Nile C. Kinnick’s next game is a contest against St. Mary, who beat them convincingly in the season opener, 59-30.
“We’re a different team this time around, but so are they,” said Stovall. “With this victory we have some momentum going in our favor.”