By Joshua Koch
HOUSTON – Matt Charles hit five three-pointers, finishing with 21 points, Connor Gaines chipped in another nine points and Kingwood defeated North Shore 51-41 on Tuesday night at Kingwood High School.
“It was good, because we did not look good Saturday,” Kingwood coach Royce Huseman said about his team bouncing back from a 53-48 loss to Channelview. “You never know how your kids are thinking after a loss like that because we did not shoot the ball well. I think maybe, not wanting to make an excuse for yourself, but suffered a bit of a hangover from the tournament we had. We just looked sluggish.
“Came out tonight and the kids were fired up and those first four shots went down and it really made me feel good and looked like the team we’d been all year.”
Kingwood (12-8, 1-1 in District 21-6A play) opened the game on an 11-2 run and the second quarter with an 11-0 run to eventually lead 28-14 at the half. Kingwood finished the first half 6 of 8 from three-point range.
The third quarter was all North Shore.
North Shore (9-9, 0-2) rattled off a 16-2 run in the first 6:07 of the third quarter, tying the game at 30 apiece.
Despite making the monstrous comeback fueled by Shemar Clark’s three-pointers, who finished with a team-high 16 points, and Keiman Capers, who finished with 13 points in the loss.
Needing some momentum, Kingwood turned to Charles, who ended the third quarter with his fifth three-pointer of the game, giving Kingwood the 37-30 lead heading to the fourth.
Charles finished with a team-high 21 points.
“It’s just good to see Matt do that because he works so hard,” Huseman said. “That’s when it’s really fun. That’s what coaching is all about right there when a kid comes in and puts time in and is rewarded like that. He’s such a great kid. When he comes and shoots the ball like that it gives everybody else confidence.”
North Shore tried to come back with one more run in the final quarter, but Kingwood’s lights out shooting from the charity stripe, going 6 of 8 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and 11 of 14 for the game, sealed the 51-41 victory.
“That’s kind of what we’ve been doing this year,” Huseman said. “We had a stretch in there where we did not shoot well (from the free throw line). If we get the right people at the line, we’re pretty good. The kids, Chase (Lovins), Connor (Gaines) and Matt (Charles) and those guys they’ll step up and they’ll knock them down when it counts.”
Kingwood is back in action on Friday as it travels to Summer Creek, which is coming off a 63-55 loss to rival Atascocita.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” Huseman said. “I told the kids I’ve been looking forward to this one. Because we went over there last year and kind of peed in our pants a little bit. We beat them over here by about 20-25 points and then went over there and lost by a couple of points. Just did not play well, so we’re going to have to go over there and it’s a little bit of a revenge game.”