PASADENA — It wasn’t the prettiest victory, but King/Drew knocked off El Camino Real 44-39 in the first round of the Rose City Classic at Maranatha High on Tuesday.
After the first quarter King/Drew led 6-3. Get used to seeing low scores when the Golden Eagles take the court. They’re a defense-first team.
“We’re relying on our defense this year,” head coach Lloyd Webster said after the win. “We’ve got a scrappy and athletic team.”
Sophomore guard Kalib Lacount finished with 15 points to lead King/Drew. The Golden Eagles led for the entire game, but El Camino Real cut the deficit to four late in the fourth quarter. Two clutch buckets from Lacount down the stretch sealed the victory for King/Drew.
“We’re looking for Kalib to have a big year,” Webster said.
Tuesday’s game featured two of the best big men in the City Section. El Camino Real’s Ben Todd and King/Drew’s Fidelis Okereke battled in the post all evening. Todd led all scorers with 18 in defeat, but Webster liked how his center matched up with El Camino Real’s.
“That’s what Fidelis will see at the next level,” Webster said. “It was a big game for him.”
It’s early and El Camino Real didn’t have its full team due to injuries and transfers having to sit out, but at the end of the regular season this could be an important win for King/Drew when the City Section determines its playoff seeds. The Golden Eagles have Open Division aspirations.
“We’ll see where the chips fall, but a spot in the Open Division is always the goal,” Webster said. “We want to shoot for the sky.”