The Kayhi boys' basketball team wanted to send a message against Southeast Conference rival Juneau-Douglas Friday night.
It came across loud and clear.
Jeff Whicker scored 35 points, Tyller Bell added 14 and KayHi used a big first half to beat the Crimson Bears 81-62 at Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium.
"That was just pure adrenaline. We were pretty excited for this game," Whicker said. "We were definitely out there to prove a point, and make a statement."
Juneau-Douglas (5-6, 0-1) held a slim 7-4 lead early in the first quarter, but a jumper by Whicker and a 3-pointer from Bell kicked off a 14-3 Kayhi run, capped by eight consecutive points from sophomore Kyle Day.
Day finished the game with 11 points, and hit his first four shots from the field.
"That kid can shoot," Bell said.
After Day's outburst, the game was never close.
Whicker opened the second quarter with a putback to push Kayhi's lead to 13. With 2:40 left in the half, Kayhi junior Chas Allen hit a driving layup to make it 44-24. Junior Alex Williams pushed the lead to 23 points at 49-26 with a 3-pointer a few possessions later, and Kayhi went into the intermission with a 49-27 advantage.
The Crimson Bears pushed back in the third quarter, but not before Bell hit a fastbreak layup to give Kayhi its largest lead of the night at 61-31.
"We're getting better at the things we do. We've got room for improvement," Kayhi coach Eric Stockhausen said. "We know tomorrow is going to be a battle."
Whicker had 18 points in the first half despite shooting just 4-of-8 from the free-throw line. He added 17 points after the break, leading the way as Kayhi maintained its hefty first-half advantage.
Kayhi (8-3, 2-1 Southeast) has won three consecutive games by at least 19 points after a three-game losing streak. The Kings took out Thunder Mountain 73-53 Jan. 9 before dismantling Sitka 66-29 Thursday.
"I think we're starting to get what we need to do to be a good team in this league," Whicker said. "I think we're on the right track."
Juneau showed signs of life in a third quarter that, for a while, looked like it would be only highlighted by a huge block by Bell on an Alec Calloway layup. Led by eight points from Alex DeRocher and six from Colin Gozelski, the Crimson Bears fashioned a 15-5 run to close the quarter and trim Kayhi's lead to 67-49.
"I know that we have more than we demonstrated," Juneau coach Steve Potter said. "We're just going to have to try not to have guys drive right around us."
Gozelski and DeRocher each scored 15 points for Juneau in the Crimson Bears' conference opener. Tony Yadao chipped in 13.
Kayhi and Juneau will play the second game of the two-game series Saturday at 7:15 p.m.
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