Ark City freshman Kamari Jennings puts up 31 in Bulldogs’ comeback win


VALLEY CENTER — Ark City High School freshman Kamari Jennings scored 31 points to lead all scorers Friday night in the Bulldogs’ 61-56 league win on the road at Valley Center.

Jennings scored 17 points in the third quarter alone and sunk five 3-pointers for the game, with four of them coming in that back-and-forth third period that saw Ark City and the Hornets trading tying shots and leads.

Along with the perimeter marksmanship, Jennings hit jumpers inside the arc, runners in the paint and was 9-of-13 at the free throw line.

Jennings — listed at 5’7” — has averaged 15 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals per game so far this season, shooting 44 percent from the field, 70 percent at the charity stripe and 30 percent from three.

In Ark Valley Chisholm Trail Div. II play, Jennings is averaging 22 points per contest.

“Obviously, I don’t think I’ve missed a game of his ever and I know the ability he has to fill it up and score the basketball,” Jennings’ father and ACHS Boys Basketball Coach C.J. Jennings told KSOK on air during the KanPak Postgame Show after the win.

C.J. added the team has taken notice as well.

”They’re finding him, setting screens for him and getting him open, so that’s hats off to the team,” C.J. said. “You’re not able to do those things if you don’t have a good cast of guys with you that are willing to get you involved.

“And I think they’re doing a good job of embracing him as a freshman — and not only that but as a coach’s kid, which is tough — but I think they’re embracing him really well and that goes a long way and I think we’re figuring ourselves out.”

It was a slow start for Ark City (3-4) on a night that felt uncertain earlier in the day with heavy morning snow in the region canceling school for Valley Center.

The Hornets (1-6) were ready to play though, and controlled the game early to a 16-5 lead going into the second quarter, but then Jordy Pierce got in a groove and sparked the Bulldogs comeback.

Pierce, a 6’4” sophomore, scored all of his nine points in the second quarter and nabbed big rebounds while Jennings and junior Jake Abrams added five in the frame to tie the game at halftime.

All three tallied a trey each in the comeback quarter.

Ark City sophomore Darrius Stanley, a 6’4” forward/center, also got going in the second with a basket and physical rebounds. He carried that momentum into the second half on the glass and tough baskets inside.

Stanley ended the game with 10 points — second in scoring for the Bulldogs behind Jennings.

Junior Wyatt Dickey added four points for Ark City in the second half and senior Aidan Brantley added two points with big baskets at the free throw line in the fourth quarter to help keep Valley Center in the rear view mirror.

Ark City will have another road trip Tuesday at Goddard-Eisenhower (2-3).

Coverage will begin at 6 p.m. starting with the girls game and the boys after both live on 103.3 FM/1280 AM KSOK, and audio streaming for free on your phone or computer at