Lake Havasu junior forward Gerard Bolden Jr. poured a game-high 35 points on Friday, but the rest of the team combined for 12 in a home loss to Desert West Region opponent Verrado.
The Knights suffered another double-digit defeat and fell to the Vipers 78-47. Havasu dropped to 1-7 overall and 0-7 in the Desert West.
“I felt like the way we played didn’t reflect on the score,” Knights head coach Ted Darnell said. “I thought we played pretty well for the most part. We didn’t turn over the ball that much tonight and not as much as we usually do. We definitely got better and that’s what I’m proud of.”
It was Havasu’s first game in a week with their last contest ending a 58-42 victory over Yuma – the team’s first win of the season.
Coming off their first victory since Dec. 17, 2019, the Knights were looking to win back-to-back games for the first time this season and started strong, leading for the majority of the first quarter.
After both teams traded threes for a 5-5 tie, Havasu eventually led 12-7, but Verrado scored the final five points of the quarter to end the first with a tie. Since the Knights led by five, the Vipers outscored Havasu 26-9 through halftime.
Verrado took the lead with the first basket of the second quarter and those points would start a 10-2 run for the Vipers. The Knights got within three points in the quarter, but Verrado’s shooters settled in and went on to outscore Havasu 21-9 en route to a 33-21 halftime lead.
“We definitely lost our man (defense) so we need to make sure who were guarding,” Bolden Jr. said. “Make sure we’ll close down on threes and not have uncontested shots. Have less turnovers and make shots and rebounding was a big portion of our game tonight and that’s what killed us at the end.”
The Vipers stretched their lead to 23 points (49-26) in the third quarter and Bolden Jr. tried to put the Knights back into the game. The junior scored the team’s final 11 points of the period and Havasu faced a 16-point 53-37 deficit at the end of the third. Bolden Jr. scored 13 of the Knights’ 16 points in the quarter.
Darnell said Bolden played with a “different gear” all night.
“I was just impressed that his level of play went up in all areas, not just scoring” Darnell said. “His aggressiveness, he was rebounding, he was battling inside, he was taking it to the hole a little bit more trying to draw contact. He’s coming along.”
A double-digit deficit would be a difficult task to overcome, as Verrado closed the game by outscoring Havasu 23-12 over the final quarter. The Vipers scored at least 20 points each from the second through fourth quarters.
“We definitely need to remember to go into the press and just remember little things like that,” Knights junior guard Brenton Szymanski said. “We could’ve got the ball back more times and that would’ve give us more opportunities to score.”
Szymanski and Joshua Doyle were both Havasu’s next highest scorers at five points.
Verrado had three double-digit scorers in Neo Johnson (20 points), Jake Sent (18) and Zavieon Bineyard (12).
The Knights will seek its second win of the 2021 campaign in a road matchup against Lee Williams scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. Havasu is slated to host two games afterwards with matchups scheduled against Glendale on Feb. 24 (7 p.m.) and River Valley on Feb. 26 (5:30 p.m.).