Silverdale Baptist's record-breaking seasons sweetened by sweep

Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Silverdale Baptist Academy's Brett Wright, center, blocks a shot by Boyd Buchanan's Connor Turnbow, right, during the TSSAA Division II-A East District 2 tournament final Friday night at Notre Dame High School.
Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Silverdale Baptist Academy's Brett Wright, center, blocks a shot by Boyd Buchanan's Connor Turnbow, right, during the TSSAA Division II-A East District 2 tournament final Friday night at Notre Dame High School.

A special season on the hardwood continues getting better for Silverdale Baptist Academy.

Both of its varsity basketball programs earned Division II-A East District 2 tournament championship trophies Friday night at Notre Dame, with an utterly dominant defensive performance for the Lady Seahawks sparked by freshman Kinsley Owen and a bold finish by the state-ranked No. 1 Seahawks following in the nightcap.

Owen stole the show early as she had nine steals and tied Tennessee Miss Basketball finalist Kelsie Johnson for a team-high 13 points in a runaway 57-33 victory over Boyd Buchanan in the girls' district final. The young point guard's all-out hustle set the tone, and Owen also had a trio of assists in the first half for DII-A's second-ranked Lady Seahawks, who improved to 26-5.

"Our girls have taken so much pride in the way they defend," Silverdale Baptist coach Victor Underwood said. "Kinsley is a special talent who has 'A' talent, 'A' work ethic and an 'A' attitude. She is the whole package, which is rare to get all three of those.

"Since Christmas, she and our girls have taken on the mantra: Nobody guards like we guard. We are going to outdefend everybody. That's our goal."

 

In a back-and-forth battle in the boys' final, the Seahawks delivered in a major way late to prevail 52-49 and win for the 26th time in 29 games this season.

Silverdale Baptist senior Houston Holland had a go-ahead tip-in with his right hand from underneath the left side of the basket with a defender on him, making it 50-49 with a minute left.

A night after dropping 13 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter to squeeze past Notre Dame in the district semifinals, 6-foot-7 Kennedy Okpara delivered one of the biggest defensive plays of his prep career.

Okpara read a spin move from Boyd Buchanan's Connor Turnbow, who finished with 15 points, as the Seahawks big man flashed to the left low block to block Turnbow's shot, then deflected the loose ball off his opponent to gain possession for Silverdale Baptist with less than 10 seconds to play.

Senior Elyjah Richardson blocked a game-tying chance at the buzzer to begin the celebration, and he and his brother Judah Richardson, a sophomore, combined for three blocks in the victory.

"This win really means a lot to us," said Okpara, who finished with 17 points — he dunked twice — and a pair of blocks to go with three steals. "This group has been preparing for this moment for a long time. We have worked so hard for this. Our coach (Slater Belew) keeps telling us to lock in and be great teammates, and that is what we did. We have bought into what he tells us."

Houston Holland finished with 11 points along with Judah Richardson and Brett Wright in the victory.

"Houston is a hustler," Okpara said. "Since the start of this season, he has been steady and he has been our glue guy on the team. He is a good player. For us to finish the way we did was an awesome and exhilarating experience. That's the biggest block I have ever had that late in a game."

Boyd Buchanan (22-7) got double figures in points from Garrison White, who scored eight of his 14 in a row for the Bucs in the fourth quarter, while senior point guard Noah Reid was electric in the first half, when he scored nine of his 12, including a three-point play and a four-point play.

In the girls' game, Jada Sanders led all scorers with 16 points, including 10 at the foul line, for the Lady Buccaneers (13-11).

Contact Patrick MacCoon at pmaccoon@timesfreepress.com.

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