RICHMOND - When the second half opened, Jacob Phillips couldn't miss.
After Grove Christian School went down 32-24 at the half, the sophomore captain poured in a trio of three-pointers to propel his Falcons into a 35-34 lead over the visiting Blessed Sacrament Huguenot Knights.
Robbie Kurtz didn't let them stay there long.
"I knew we needed to fire back and stop the run," Kurtz said. "I was just looking to score any way I could."
The senior quickly got an open shot, let the ball fly and knocked down the long three-pointer to push his Knights right back to the front.
They never gave up the lead again.
A fiery 15-point second-half surge from Zander Nadeau complemented Kurtz' incendiary 41-point night, and BSH routed Grove Christian 78-45. The Knights (3-0) went head-to-head with the Falcons through a competitive first-half before rocketing away on a 22-point run across the third and fourth quarters.
"They've got some new guys that we didn't know about, and they played well - they played really good defense," BSH head coach Chris Hamner said of Grove Christian. "They've got a big man that...rebounds, he kind of beat us up on the boards in the first half, kept them in the game, then finally once my big guys said, 'Okay, we're gonna rebound,' then it was kind of a different story."
Until the Knights started firing on all cylinders, Kurtz helped keep the team together, scoring 22 of the team's 32 first-half points and making the Knights' first 9 of the third. He hit a three to give his team a 10-9 lead in the first, converted two steals into layups off of fastbreaks and had the assist on Henry Kiefer's early three-pointer from behind the upper-right curve of the arc.
"When he's knocking down shots, he's really hard to guard," Hamner said of Kurtz. "Senior leadership came through when we needed it to."
But once sophomore Zander Nadeau in the third quarter received senior teammate Raymond Avery's pass and hit the two-pointer off the glass, the entire Knights unit stepped on the gas.
Avery soon drained a three-pointer to lift BSH into a 10-point lead, and Kurtz drove to the hoop for two to kickstart the Knights' wild run of points. Henry Kiefer landed a block to give himself possession, then got set up at the line where he made a point. Kiefer then hit two off an inbound pass from Ben Fleet, and Nadeau, who began hauling in the boards, racked up six straight points on a drive, a putback and another assist from Avery to end the third. He stayed hot with a three-pointer near the top of the fourth, and he ended the night with 17 points while double-doubling with 12 rebounds.
"He was getting every rebound, he just played like an absolute monster," Hamner said of Nadeau, "which is what we need to upset some guys down the road."
Though he added: "We've got to do that for 32 minutes instead of just the 10. But he played huge - stepped up big, knocked down some shots, just huge contributions from a sophomore in a big road win like that."
Kurtz double-doubled with 41 points and 14 rebounds and added 6 assists. Avery chipped in 9 points, adding a fourth-quarter layup after he intercepted a pass for the steal. Kiefer finished with 8 points, making his last 2 from the line right after he crashed into the wall upon getting fouled.
"If you have a bad night, someone's going to pick you up, and it's great, because we can spread it around and we have multiple options," Kurtz said. "They can't just key on one guy..."
For Grove Christian, Phillips netted 15 points, sophomore Zion James scored 13 and senior captain Kenny Elliott made 12.
The Knights have a tough matchup on the road tomorrow (Tuesday, Dec. 10) at New Community around 7 before returning home to host VCC opponent Tidewater Academy on Friday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.
When asked what it'll take to keep their strong run going, Kurtz replied: "Just keep bringing the effort, and getting off to good starts is key."