In a game filled with heroes, Dante' Calcote took the final bow. Calcote's steal and layup at the buzzer preserved Renton's wild, 71-66 victory over Kennedy last night in the opening...

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RENTON — In a game filled with heroes, Dante’ Calcote took the final bow.


Calcote’s steal and layup at the buzzer preserved Renton’s wild, 71-66 victory over Kennedy last night in the opening game of the Seamount League King Division boys basketball season.


He figured it was the least he could do after his own miscues — including a late turnover — helped Kennedy whittle a nine-point deficit to one in the final two minutes.


“I felt I let the team down with that turnover,” said Cook, who had not scored to that point. “I knew I had to make up for it. I just went out and played my toughest defense.”


Ten seconds earlier, Chucky Simmons had made two free throws to stretch Renton’s lead back to three, 69-66.


“I was just trying to stay calm, focus and knock ’em down,” said Simmons, who finished with six points and a game-high nine assists.


Shawn Henderson was the early star, nailing 5 of 6 three-pointers to account for most of his 19 first-half points. He finished with 23.


“I knew if I came out strong, it would get everyone else going,” he said.


Then there was Marc Williams, who contributed 16 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals — his third consecutive game in double figures. And Melvin Samuel, all 6-foot-8, 265 pounds of him, added 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Indians improved to 3-0 on the season — despite the 34 points of Kennedy’s De Angelo Jones.


None of these Renton guys started on the team that placed fourth at last year’s 3A state tournament. In fact, the Indians lost nine seniors from that squad. Talk around the league, and the state, is that Renton is in a rebuilding mode. The Indians consider it reloading.


“We’re out to prove people wrong,” Henderson said.


Henderson played on a successful junior-varsity team last year. The Indians also take pride in their strong “C” team program.


“We kind of home-grow our kids,” coach Rick Comer said as Renton reeled off its 25th consecutive division victory.


Samuel, who has shed 60 pounds over the past year, played junior varsity as a sophomore and was academically ineligible all of last season. His two inside buckets early in the third quarter gave Renton 19-point lead, 45-26, but Jones brought Kennedy back, scoring 23 of his points in the final 13-1/2 minutes. The 6-3 sophomore also grabbed eight rebounds.


Mike Bonazza was instrumental in the comeback, too, providing all 11 of his points in the second half.


Kennedy (2-1, 0-1) went home with plenty of positives.


“The road goes through Renton,” coach Doug Strauss said. “If we want to win anything, we’ve got to beat Renton and we showed we could fight with them at their place.”


Sandy Ringer: 206-718-1512 or sringer@seattletimes.com