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Without Guy-King, Comets turn to King in win

by Erick Taylor | November 24, 2021 at 2:21 a.m.

While Mills desperately missed one King, the Comets got a well-timed effort from another to slip past a cross-town foe Tuesday night.

Q.J. King knocked down 5 of 7 free throws over the final 1:21 to carry Mills to a hard-fought 57-53 victory over Little Rock Catholic at The Galaxy Arena in Little Rock.

The junior turned in 21 points, including the final seven, for Mills (1-1), which found a way to win despite not having its top player in the lineup. Senior Javion Guy-King, a 6-6 forward who holds scholarship offers from Power 5 schools such as the University of Arkansas and Oklahoma State, will be sidelined for the next four to six weeks after breaking his foot in a benefit game against Class 5A No. 1 Jonesboro on Monday.

The Comets were already replacing several players, not to mention three starters, from last season's team that won the Class 4A state title. With their leading scorer now out until at least after New Year's, Mills may need similar efforts from King to help stay afloat.

"We're scratching, clawing, doing what we can," Mills Coach Raymond Cooper said. "[Guy-King] actually played a quarter [Monday] and then got hurt. So we're trying to figure out who we are without him. And to be honest, the offensive end is where we're really struggling without him in there."

Guy-King, who had a 40-point outing in the Comets' season opener at West Memphis, also handled a portion of the team's ball-handling duties, but the bulk of that -- along with a slew of other things -- was put on the shoulders of King on Tuesday night.

He also had 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals for Mills, which shot 19 of 35 (54.2%), never trailed and led by as much as 13 points in the fourth quarter. Still, Catholic (1-3) threw a scare in the Comets.

Mills used a 14-2 run in the second quarter to help establish a 28-17 lead at halftime. The Comets would later build its advantage to 46-28 with 2:34 to go in the third and took a 48-35 margin into the final period.

However, Luke Cooper, who gave Mills fits all game, led a furious charge that got the Rockets close. His two free throws started a 12-4 run that trimmed the Comets' lead to 52-47 with less than two minutes remaining. King answered with four consecutive free throws to push his team's lead back to nine before back-to-back three-pointers, including a 24-footer from Beau Kronenberger, in a 30-second span pulled Catholic within 56-53 with 4.4 seconds left in the game.

King was fouled on the next trip and made one of two from the line to give the Comets some breathing room.

"We're going to just have to find a way and hopefully keep getting contributions from some others," said Cooper, who also got 14 points out of Jabrae Shaw and 13 points from Marcus Kendrick. "We graduated a lot of seniors, we got a lot of new guys and then with Javion being hurt. ... the rotation is really thin, and we're figuring things out as we go.

"Of course, the game is the game for us. We got some turnovers, got the lead and then tried to hold on. We didn't stay aggressive, and then [Catholic] started hitting shots and [Kronenberger] got hot. But the good thing about it is that we hit free throws late and made the plays that we had to make to win. So we'll take it."

Cooper finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who were 15-of-35 (42.8%) shooting. Kronenberger scored 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter.

Print Headline: Without Guy-King, Comets turn to King in win

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