Italy — The Gladiators welcomed the tenacious 5 man squad of Garland Alpha Charter to Italy Coliseum for the second district meeting between the two schools.
Italy defeated Garland in the first match earlier in district play but the visitors were trying to make a game of it early on. The score was close after the first-period with Italy leading 15-13 thanks to a three-pointer from Ryan Connor, 4-points from Kevin Johnson and a basket and a free-throw from Kyle Tindol.
However, senior Gladiator Gary Kincaid heated up early with 5-points including a three-pointer from the right wing to help Italy take a 34-21 lead into intermission. In fact, Kincaid was in attack mode all game totaled 8-points in the matchup.
Garland’s 5th man fouled out with 2:27 remaining in the third and had to gut it out against the Gladiators with just a 4 man crew. Taking advantage, Kincaid nailed another three-pointer in the third and Johnson swished a three-pointer from way back to beat the buzzer, extending Italy’s lead to 50-31 heading into the fourth.
Late in the game, Garland’s 4th man fouled out leaving just three teammates to battle until the end. Italy finished off Garland from there with Cody Boyd, Tindol and Kenneth Norwood each finishing the night with 7-points each. Hustling senior guard John Escamilla scored 4 of his 5-points in the final period and Johnson scored four in the fourth, including another three bomb, to finish with a team-high 16-points to lead Italy.
The Gladiators held off a late surge by the undermanned Garland squad to get a much needed district win, 63-50.
With the win, the Gladiators have a chance to reach the playoffs…if they upset the district leading Dallas Gateway Gators. No small task, but the Coliseum has already witnessed the impossible becoming possible this season for Italy. Maybe there will still be a little magic left inside the dome for the Gladiators who will be facing Gateway on Italy’s home court.
Fan noise required Tuesday, February 10, for SENIOR NIGHT as the Lady Gladiators go for an undisputed district crown and for the Gladiators who will be trying to make the playoffs!!!
Gladiator Scoring and Game Roster:
Joe Celis – 2
Gary Kincaid – 8 (2 three-pointers)
Cody Boyd – 7
Kevin Johnson – 16 (2 three-pointers)
Ryan Connor – 4 (1 three-pointer)
John Escamilla – 5
Kendrick Norwood – 5 (1 three-pointer)
Kyle Tindol – 7
David De La Hoya – 2
Kenneth Norwood – 7