Kamiakin boys beat Kennedy 58-47 in quarterfinals

By Jack Millikin, Tri-City Herald March 2, 2012 

TACOMA -- Twenty years from now, when people look at Justin Pedley's picture on the Kamiakin Wall of Fame, they won't know he missed five of his first six free throws in the 3A state quarterfinal against Kennedy Catholic on Thursday at the Tacoma Dome.

Nor will they care.

Because Pedley came through when it mattered most, burying an 18-foot pull-up jumper from the right wing with the Braves' fate hanging in the balance, sparking his team to a 58-47 victory against the Lancers at the Hardwood Classic.

Kamiakin led 45-40 when Pedley, a 6-foot-6 senior, grabbed a defensive rebound and brought it back the other way. After dribbling over the halfcourt line and past the right hash, he stopped and stroked a shot just as pretty as the free throws were flawed, hitting nothing but net to make it 47-40 with 3:40 to go.

"I knew I had to step up," Pedley said. "You have to have confidence in your shot."

It was the only field goal he attempted in the fourth quarter -- in fact, the only one by the entire Kamiakin team in the final 8 minutes -- but it couldn't have come at a better time. Kennedy was not going away, and two-time Seamount League MVP Mitch Penner wasn't finished yet, either.

Braves coach Brian Meneely planned to get his team as many good looks at the basket as possible. You can't get any cleaner shot than a free throw. However, when Kamiakin began struggling from the stripe, it made sense for Kennedy to send the Braves to the line.

"We've tried everything but hypnosis," Meneely said. "I might give the Yellow Pages a look tonight."

Kamiakin led 41-33 entering the fourth quarter but missed five of its first six free throws. Meanwhile, Penner hit a 3 from the right wing to start a 7-1 run that brought the Lancers within 42-40 with 6 minutes left.

Kamiakin hit 22 of 38 free throws during the game, 15 of 25 in the fourth quarter alone. But even after missing five of his first six, Pedley finished off the Lancers by nailing his last five attempts in the final 2:47.

"He made a comment about the hoop looking a little high, so I told him to shoot it two inches further. He just smirked and went up and made two more," Meneely said. "When he smirks, you know he's feeling it."

Pedley led Kamiakin (23-1) with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Penner finished 7-of-21 from the field, including two 3-pointers, for a game-high 23 points.

"I was getting my normal looks, but they weren't going down," Penner said. "We could see they got a little rattled by our pressure, but they're a really smart basketball team. You could see they adjusted after a while."

Penner also struggled from the free-throw line, missing each of his five fourth-quarter attempts. The Lancers (21-4) were 0-for-8 from the stripe in the fourth quarter.

Kamiakin will face Seattle Prep (23-5), which beat O'Dea 47-42 in an earlier quarterfinal matchup, in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. today at the Tacoma Dome.

The Braves controlled the first three quarters by not giving Penner many good looks and getting strong play from guards Cooper Clyde, Javan Williams and Cody Wilmoth.

Williams scored Kamiakin's first four points of the game, which helped set the tone on offense. He posted up his defender, Jason Thompson, inside for the first two and then cut inside for a layin off a feed from Zach En'Wezoh two minutes into the game.

Clyde hit an elbow jumper off an assist from Williams and then took a pass from Wilmoth at the top of the key and drained a 3-pointer to give the Braves a 9-2 lead.

"I just wanted to go out and play well and get the big guys their touches," said Clyde, who hit another 3 midway through the second quarter to give Kamiakin its biggest lead at 25-13. He finished with 14 points.

Joe Hunt also came off the bench to give the Braves a boost, scoring seven points, including two free throws with 2:08 left to play.

"This is my third trip here for football and basketball, so I'm a little more relaxed," Hunt said. "Other kids are jumpy and nervous, but I know what it takes to win."

KENNEDY -- Anthony McCluskey 12, Greaney, Thompson 4, Mitch Penner 23, Madison 4, Braxton 2, McGrew, Ramsey, Sierhuis 2, Tyson, Sasonoff. Totals 17-62 8-18 47.

KAMIAKIN -- Williams 4, Wilmoth 7, Cooper Clyde 14, Justin Pedley 17, En'Wezoh 6, Quinn 3, Hunt 7, Shoop, Crandall. Totals 16-31 22-38 58.

Kennedy 9 14 10 14 -- 47

Kamiakin 17 13 11 17 -- 58

Highlights -- Rebounds: Ken 37 (Penner 14), Kam 36 (Pedley 12, En'Wezoh 11); 3-pointers: Ken 5x23 (McCluskey 3, Penner 2); Turnovers: Ken 4, Kam 11; Assists: Ken 9 (Penner 4), Kam 12 (Cody Wilmoth 4); Penner 2 steals; En'Wezoh 2 blocks.

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