Cooper Clyde limped out of the trainers room at Kamiakin High School on Friday night after the senior guard helped lead the Braves to a 45-33 Mid-Columbia Conference win over Walla Walla.
Its just an ankle sprain. I stepped on somebodys foot, Clyde said after stepping on Walla Wallas toes with 15 points, including three 3-pointers, five rebounds and three assists.
After playing a key role during the Braves run to the 3A state tournament last year, coach Brian Meneely wants Clyde to take an even bigger role this season.
When the Blue Devils went on a 7-0 run to open the second half, cutting Kamiakins lead to 25-19, Meneely exhorted to Clyde from the sideline, You need to assert yourself!
Seconds later, Clyde fed Shae Gurney for a bucket inside and later came off a high screen to drill a 3-pointer at the top of the key to extend the Braves lead to 36-21.
(Meneely) talks to me about that, Clyde said. I dont neccessarily need to score as much as making things happen for my teammates.
Kylle Robertson and Javan Williams were part of another outstanding perimeter effort. Robertson also hit three treys and finished with 13 points, while Williams continued his all-around strong play.
Williams, the CBBN 3A defensive player of the year in 2012, put himself in the mix on both ends of the floor. He finished with four points, six rebounds, a pair of steals and two assists, but his biggest contribution came on defense.
I thought Javan defended like crazy tonight, Meneely said. He does so much for us. The kids gather a lot of confidence from him, and hes always improving his game.
Tanner Cranor came in as Walla Wallas leading scorer. The 6-foot-8 senior scored 35 last week in an overtime loss to Richland and had 29 in a nonleague win over Pendleton before the Christmas break.
But the Braves had a plan against the towering center, letting 6-6 post Jim Fowler body up on him with helpside defense ready to go as soon as he touched the ball.
We just tried to get (Fowler) as much help to him as early as we could, Meneely said. We were fortunate they missed some shots.
The Blue Devils shot 12-of-41 (29.3 percent) for the game.
Cranor took a pass from Parker Toon early in the first quarter and banked a shot high off the glass for 2, cutting Kamiakins lead to 6-4. Those were Cranors only points of the night, as he sank just 1 of 10 shots.
Sometimes he just rushes things and misses, Blue Devils coach John Golden said. Thats the frustrating thing. Weve seen how good he can be.
But Cranor wasnt the only one to struggle from the floor. With two starters down Spencer Locati was lost for the year with a torn labrum and Eric Klicker is fighting an infection in his foot Walla Walla searched for a rhythm all night that never came.
Everybody gets dinged up, but this is going to be the toughest stretch for us with five games in eight days, Blue Devils coach John Golden said. But you cant make excuses, and you have to give Kamiakin credit. They defended very well.
At one point, Walla Walla missed 10 consecutive shots between the third and fourth quarters, allowing Kamiakin to take a 41-22 lead with 4:51 left in the game.
Sam Arias led the Blue Devils with 10 points. Cranor led the team with seven rebounds and added a blocked shot.
WALLA WALLA Porter 5, Thonney, Eggart 8, Sam Arias 10, Cranor 2, Toon 6, Hogan, Knillman, Gilmore 2. Totals 12-41 4-6 33.
KAMIAKIN Kylle Robertson 13, Cooper Clyde 15, Petsch, Williams 4, Fowler 3, Holle, Bayles 3, Gurney 7. Totals 15-40 9-15 45.
Walla Walla 6 6 10 11 33
Kamiakin 13 12 11 9 45
Highlights 3-pointers: WW 5 (Eggart 2, Toon 2, Arias), K 6 (Robertson 3, Clyde 3); Rebounds: WW 27 (Cranor 7), K 32 (Petsch 6, Robertson 6, Williams 6); Turnovers: WW 4, K 10; Assists: WW 7 (Toon 3), K 11 (Clyde 3, Williams 3).