Calvary Chapel boys basketball coach Doug Lee felt most of his team lacked energy Saturday afternoon, particularly in the first quarter.
Killian Diers, a 6-foot-2-inch senior, was an exception.
Diers, who finished with 22 points, 16 rebounds and two assists, was the most active player on both ends of the floor in the Lions’ 78-52 win over White Pine in a Division III Southern League matchup.
“For us this year, he hasn’t played at the level he did consistently last year,” Lee said. “But in the last three games, he’s been very solid. When he plays like that, we’re a whole different team.”
Calvary Chapel (12-10, 7-4) will need more of Diers down the stretch, as the Lions have just a 1½-game lead over Needles (10-8, 6-6) for the league’s fourth playoff spot with five league games remaining.
Diers provided the early boost against White Pine, contributing nine points and 10 rebounds in the first half to help the Lions take a 39-22 halftime lead.
After a lethargic start, Calvary Chapel forced 13 turnovers and outscored the Bobcats 20-8 in the second quarter to take control.
“We came out and didn’t really play as intense as we have been playing,” Lee said. “We’ve got six guys who know how to play defense. And when we play good, hard defense, we know we can be good. …
“It’s all about defense and rebounding. If we can do that, we’ve got a chance.”
Cameron Varela did the heavy lifting in the second half, scoring 14 of his 21 points. Calvary Chapel opened the third quarter on a 6-0 run before cruising to victory.
Quentin Hank finished with 18 points, four assists and two steals for the Lions, who outrebounded White Pine 43-34.
Despite committing 23 turnovers, White Pine pulled within 56-43 with 7:34 to play. It was the closest the Bobcats would get in the second half.
“We full-court press most of the game. It’s no secret,” Lee said. “We do that and go after teams. We’re one of the best-conditioned teams. We’ll go out there and give it all we’ve got.”
Sam Stewart had 10 points and seven rebounds to lead White Pine (3-13, 2-10). Dekoda Barela and Saxton Brewster each scored nine for the Bobcats, who shot 14-for-50 (28.0 percent) from the field.
Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at email@example.com or 702-383-0430. Follow him on Twitter: @af_ferguson