Fellow senior Florian Tenebay added 17 points, five assists, five rebounds and four steals, meaning the little guys accounted for 43 of the team’s 61 points.
“They’ve been carrying us all year,” coach Rory Griffin said. “They’re the ones that carry us game-after game, when the game is on the line. We know if we put it in Jalen’s hands or Florian’s hands something good is going to happen.”
The big guys certainly had their impact on the game, too. D.K. Dut scored only six points, but had 11 rebounds and two blocks. Gai Chol Atern had four points and four rebounds.
King’s Ridge, despite a sizeable size disadvantage at each position, was able to stay in the game with its outside shooting. Its success in the first quarter forced Greenforest to switch to a zone defense earlier than Griffin desired and the long wingspan of the defenders made it more difficult for the Tigers to get open looks.
“We had to go to a 3-2 and we had to squeeze the middle because that’s where they would be most effective,” Griffin said. “They were using (Micah Hoover) as a decoy and he proved hie could hit the shot. But I’ll play the percentages. That’s what I had to do.”
Greenforest opened the final quarter with a 43-42 lead and King’s Ridge tied it 50-50 on a Liam Thomas 3-pointer. That’s when Forrest and Tenebay scored field goals and Jaylen Peterson got a slam off a steal to open a six-point lead. King’s Ridge never got closer than four points.
Greenforest (28-4) finished the games on a 23-game winning streak that included victories over Pace Academy, Grayson and 3A state champion Cross Creek.
King’s Ridge (28-5) got 18 points from Isaac Martin, all of them on 3-point baskets. Hoover sored 16 on 8-for-11 shooting with seven rebounds and three assists. The Tigers made 10 baskets from distance in concluding the school’s best season. King’s Ridge had not won a playoff game until this year.