KERRVILLE — The Guardians saw their 8-game win streak snapped during their opener at the Kerrville Our Lady of the Hills tournament, but by the end of the event, John Paul II had put together a brand new string of victories.
Head coach Forrest Blackwell’s team shrugged off a 58-46 loss to San Antonio St. Anthony by collecting three straight wins on Friday and Saturday. The Guardians (14-2 overall) defeated Houston Emery/Weiner 52-38 and then swept a Saturday doubleheader against Denton Calvary and the host team by respective scores of 60-53 and 84-54.
In the win over Emery/Weiner, John Paul II rebounded from a 17-10 deficit after the first quarter to seize a 32-25 lead at intermission. The Guardians forced 23 turnovers in the contest and were led by Dezmon Dudley’s 12 points and C.J. Kowalik’s double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds).
JPII then took down No. 3-ranked Denton Calvary thanks to another strong performance from the tandem of Kowalik (16 points) and Dudley (14 points, seven assists).
The Guardians capped their stay at the tournament by cruising past Our Lady of the Hills. John Paul II led 38-24 at the half and continued to play efficiently on offense down the stretch. Blackwell’s team dished out a tournament-high 20 total assists in the game and connected on 50 percent of its shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
Four players finished in double figures in the finale. Josh McGuire paced his team with 20 points and Payton Reimer delivered 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
The Guardians are slated to return to action on Friday, Jan. 3 to battle San Antonio St. Gerard on the road at 3 p.m.
John Paul II is set to begin district play on Jan. 21 at Boerne Geneva.