Kentwood got the defense of its Class 4A state championship off to a rocky start. Aaron Boyce helped ensure things didn't get any worse by helping the fourth-ranked Conquerors...

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COVINGTON — Kentwood got the defense of its Class 4A state championship off to a rocky start.

Aaron Boyce helped ensure things didn’t get any worse by helping the fourth-ranked Conquerors to a 49-46 South Puget Sound League win over visiting Enumclaw last night.

Boyce scored six straight points as Kentwood (1-1 overall and league) erased a fourth-quarter deficit and bounced back from Tuesday’s season-opening loss to Kent-Meridian.

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“My last two years here it seemed like we always got off to slow starts,” said Boyce, who scored seven of his 10 points in the final quarter. “Then we get into a rhythm.”

Toussaint Tyler and Sean Rock added 10 points each for Kentwood in a balanced effort that overcame a 27-point outburst by Enumclaw senior guard Tanner Sayler.

Sayler drained five three-pointers and helped the Hornets (1-2, 1-1) to leads of 18-8 in the first quarter and 42-40 in the fourth after they’d trailed by as many as eight in the second half.

Sayler scored seven points as Enumclaw opened the fourth quarter with a 10-0 run to take a 42-40 lead. But Boyce, a 6-foot-4 senior wing, hit a three-point shot, then scooped up a batted ball on the ensuing inbounds play and drove for a layup and a 45-42 Kentwood lead.

“They had the momentum going there,” Boyce said of the Hornets’ burst to start the period. “That three-pointer and then the steal, that got us going again.”

After a defensive stop, Boyce made one of two free throws to push the lead to four, and the Conquerors spread the floor to run down the clock.

Enumclaw, which has now suffered two losses by a total of four points, opened the game by making 8 of 9 shots from the field and held a 20-13 first-quarter lead.

But the Hornets managed just seven points against a swarming, trapping Kentwood defense in the second quarter and got just one field goal in the third.

“We just turned it over too much,” Enumclaw coach Phil Engebretsen said. “If you don’t hold on to the ball and take shots, you don’t give yourself a chance to win.”

The win was the fifth in a row for Kentwood over the Hornets dating to January 2002. That season the Hornets went on to win the second of back-to-back SPSL titles.