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SUNRISE BOYS: Hot-shooting Cougars win first region title

Nick Davis stood at the top of the key with the ball, and as the junior point guard prepared to fire up a quick 3-pointer, Coronado boys basketball coach Jeff Kaufman yelled, “No! No!”

Despite the protests of his coach, Davis made the shot.

In fact, nearly everything the Cougars put up in the second quarter Friday went in the hoop.

“What was I going to do?” Kaufman said. “As hot as he was, he knew better than I did, that’s for sure.”

Coronado made 13 of its 18 field-goal attempts in the second quarter, including six 3-pointers, and the hot-shooting Cougars rolled to a 70-32 victory over Eldorado in the Division I Sunrise Region final at Liberty.

Kennedy Koehler finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Cougars, who captured the first region title in school history and advance to the state tournament. Coronado (21-4) will meet the Northern Region champion at 8 p.m. Thursday at UNR’s Lawlor Events Center.

“We’ve been wanting this for a long time, as the school has never had a banner in the gym. And we got one this year,” Koehler said. “We’ve got a lot of goals to accomplish. We’ve accomplished two of our three, and our next one is to win state, so we’re very focused.”

For the second consecutive game, the Cougars received a major lift from their supporting cast. A day after Bryce Savoy stepped up in the semifinals with 16 points, Davis posted 15 of his 20 points in the first half and Patrick Simms added 12 points and four rebounds off the bench against Eldorado (13-11).

Coronado outscored the Sundevils 32-8 in the decisive second quarter to go up 45-15 at halftime and led 65-25 in the third quarter. The game was played with a running clock for the final 9:11.

Jake DesJardins had 11 points, six rebounds and six blocks for the Cougars, who shot 57.1 percent from the field (28-for-49).

“We were working really hard,” Koehler said. “We shot around probably two or three times before this. We had the mindset that we had to really go out there and show what we can do.”

Carl Crayon was the only Sundevils player in double figures with 11 points as Coronado focused its defensive efforts on the senior point guard.

Dyllan Kounovsky had eight points and eight rebounds for Eldorado, which went 1-for-20 from 3-point range and shot 19.6 percent from the field.

“Eldorado, although they play a real athletic game, they like it at their pace,” Kaufman said. “We decided, ‘Hey, let’s speed them up,’ and that got them out of their comfort zone, and that what we were trying to do. They didn’t like that, and it worked out beneficial for us.”

Coronado opened the second quarter on a 17-2 run and made 12 of its first 15 shots. Koehler finished off a fast-break with a dunk early in the quarter, and Davis’ 3-pointer that initially drew Kaufman’s ire put the Cougars up 40-15 with 2:32 left.

“He’s such a good kid, and he’s so focused and he’s so dedicated. It paid off tonight,” Kaufman said of Davis. “He’s such a hard worker, and he’s been there all year for us. Constant, constant, constant. He was just on fire.”

Contact reporter David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ

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