Notes from 3A boys, girls state basketball

Herald staff writerMarch 2, 2012 

One of the most impressive things I've ever seen was Shaquille O'Neal dunking a basketball during an NBA game on television back in his rookie year with Orlando. We all watched in amazement as the stanchion buckled and slowly slumped to the floor, as if bowing down to The Big Aristotle.

Well, Zach En'Wezoh almost pulled a Shaq on Thursday against Kennedy.

With about 1:50 left in the game, En'Wezoh got the ball down low with some room to work. That's it, nothing between him and the rim but God's will.

Maybe God didn't want to make things too easy on him. Just before Weez threw down a powerful two-handed jam, the officials whistled the play dead.

Didn't stop Weez, though. He followed through, and I swear the back of the stanchion came up off the ground at least six inches. Any more torque on that dunk might have toppled the whole thing over.

Somebody noticed, however, that the backboard and rim were not oriented correctly with the court. Not a huge displacement — maybe 3 or 4 percent at most — but enough to stop the game for about 10 minutes while people figured out how to get this thing back into place.

Now we all know the big guy likes to bring down the house with thundering jams, but I think this one might hold a special place in his heart.

"I might try it again tomorrow," he said with a grin after the game. "I didn't know if I was going to get a technical or not. All I know is it took four old guys to get it back into place."

******

Kamiakin coach Brian Meneely might have his boys take a little more time at the free throw line before today's game.

The Braves went 22 for 38 percent from the charity stripe Thursday, which is just under 58 percent. Maybe not so bad for my Slow Break team, but if you're the top-ranked team in the state, that's pretty frightening.

More than one player claimed Thursday that the hoop looked slightly higher than usual. That might explain the poor percentage by Kennedy, too. The Lancers went 0-for-8 in the fourth quarter, which all but sealed their fate.

That's what made Justin Pedley's fourth-quarter jump shot all the more impressive. He had missed four of five free throws up to that point, but when he stopped and popped that 18-footer it went straight home.

"I wanted to move the free throw line over to the right wing," Meneely joked.

*******

Not all the news was good for the Kamiakin boys, however. Guard Javan Williams rolled his left ankle with 4:15 left in the fourth quarter and had to leave the game.

He was in obvious pain on the bench as trainers worked on him, but things did not look good for him.

Williams did not return to the game. They certainly could have used him down the stretch, but the Braves managed to pull off the win without him.

Going against a dynamic, talented Seattle Prep team is a different story entirely. Williams was a CBBN 3A all-defensive team selection this year. Under normal circumstances, he would undoubtedly be the one D-ing up on Prep guard and leading scorer D.J. Fenner.

But the injury throws a monkey-sized wrench into the works. The best the Braves can do is treat Williams' ankle and hope he can play.

"We need him tomorrow," emphasized Meneely.

********

I was happy to see the CBBN's OTHER top-ranked team do well at state. The Davis Pirates laid down a systematic dismantling of Bothell, topping the Cougars 79-45.

Four Pirates scored in double figures, led by Devonte Luckett's 23 points.

As I was covering the Kamiakin game, I got a visit from the venerable Scott Spruill of the Yakima Herald Republic. As we talked about Davis' chances of bringing home a state title, I asked him about CBBN co-MVP David Trimble.

I am a big fan of Trimble and think he can do anything on a basketball court. In fact, I think he spends so much time making his teammates better that it might actually affect his personal desire to step up when his team needs him to do so.

Spruill told me don't worry. He's a different guy at state. He plays like the Tacoma Dome is his house.

Maybe that's what it takes to put them over the top. Hopefully, Trimble's best game is still ahead of him.

Certainly not a bad line from him Thursday, though — 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting, seven rebounds (four offensive), seven assists and a steal in just 20 minutes.

******

Not much to celebrate in the Kamiakin girls' camp. They're licking their wounds after taking a 64-51 beating from Franklin.

Still, they can take some positives into today's game against Shorecrest.

1) They got Sira Toure going. She sat out most of the first half after smashing her nose during a first-quarter collision. Coach Tammy Hutchison said it was so bad that she was feeling a little nauseous. But she came back in the second half and scored all of her 11 points. Her last two buckets were 3-pointers hit from about 23 feet, so deep that nobody even came out to guard her. I'm not sure if Tammy would give her the green light from that range today, but if she can hit those shots....

2) Yes I know it's a cliche, but the Braves didn't quit. They certainly could have against a team that took it to them like they hadn't seen before. Despite plenty of frustration on the floor, Kamiakin kept playing defense. Despite trailing 58-41 with 4:41 left and things looking very bleak, the Braves outrebounded and outscored Franklin the rest of the way.

3) Khadidja Toure's about to get mad. I don't know if she's had a reason to play mad this season. Kamiakin, frankly, hadn't really been tested until Thursday. But facing the last weekend of her high school career, she's going to want to go out right. There's too much pride there not to.

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