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Kyle DeVerna, Steve Torre power Kellenberg past Long Beach

Kellenberg's Kyle DeVerna looks to get inside the

Kellenberg's Kyle DeVerna looks to get inside the paint during a non-league boys basketball game against Long Beach at Freeport on Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. Credit: James Escher

They complement each other and others compliment them.

Kellenberg senior guards Kyle DeVerna and Steve Torre are friends off the court, which translates into quite a comfort zone on it.

“They both are the engines that make us go and make everyone else better,” Firebirds coach Jack McCutcheon said Monday after Kellenberg defeated Long Beach, 71-62, in the first game of the George Emma Classic played at Freeport.

DeVerna scored 20 of his 30 points in the first half and Torre scored 14 of his 19 in the second half as Kellenberg improved to 10-3.

Scrappy Long Beach (3-11), which rallied from a 10-point deficit after three quarters to make it a two-point game three minutes into the fourth quarter, got 23 points from Joe Bourne and 20 points and 11 rebounds from Tanner Owens.

The Firebirds appeared to take control of the game in the closing seconds of the third quarter.

DeVerna converted both ends of a one-and-one with eight seconds remaining. Then Long Beach was careless while handling the ball after the inbounds pass and Ryan Wilkens (15 points) made a steal and buzzer-beating three-pointer to make it 56-46.

The Marines responded to that adversity by scoring the first eight points of the fourth quarter, four each by Bourne and Shaquan Barron (12 points, four steals, five assists) to cut it to 56-54.

Then it was Torre time.

The only 1,000-point scorer in Kellenberg history made a tough drive, fed Wilkens for a layup, converted another layup in traffic and nailed a deep three-pointer to make it 67-60 with 1:55 left.

That flurry by Torre more than made up for what McCutcheon called his “rough start.”

“We’re trying to get him to catch and shoot more instead of just dribbling,” McCutcheon said. “He did that in the second half.”

DeVerna did everything in the first half, when he sank a pair of three-pointers, made three layups and shot 8-for-9 from the free-throw line.

“We complement each other. We’ve played together for four years,” DeVerna said of his obvious chemistry with Torre. “Steve is more of the primary scorer; he draws the double-teams. We know where to look for each other and we know our sweet spots.”

In the second half, DeVerna looked for Torre. Same result: sweet.

Freeport 66, Carey 54: Willie Tenzie scored 23 of his 25 points in the first half, including seven three-pointers, to lead Freeport (10-4) in the second game of the George Emma Classic.

Tyree Powell-Townsend added 12 points. Tyler DeMeo had 20 points and Mike Catanese added 19 points for Carey.

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