Chiawana senior Aaric Wren has seen the move from Richland guard Payton Radliff before a quick crossover dribble to create some separation followed by a smooth stepback jumper at the top of the key.
Wren got to see it first over the summer when the two played AAU ball and Radliff buried a game-winning 3-pointer for the Washington Elite.
Wren liked Radliff better as a teammate, but he still could appreciate the beauty of the Bombers 5-foot-10 senior burying the same shot with 14 seconds left Tuesday night, giving Richland a 54-52 win over Chiawana in Pasco.
Ive played with him since we were 11. I knew what was coming, said Wren, who watched Radliff use a high screen with Richland trailing 52-51 and sink the shot with Riverhawks freshman guard Cayden Cazier playing tight defense.
It wasnt necessary for me to take the shot, but I was feeling good, Radliff said. I had to get a quality first step. I felt like I kind of rushed (the shot), but it looked like it was good.
Radliff finished with a game-high 21 points, but 10 of them came in the fourth quarter, as Richland (12-3 overall, 8-1 Mid-Columbia Conference) narrowly escaped with its fifth consecutive MCC win despite being outhustled and definitely outmuscled for most of the night.
In the timeout, I had the opportunity to talk (to Payton). I told him if we cant score in transition to look for an opportunity to come off a screen and keep the ball until you think youve got a good (shot), Bombers coach Earl Streufert said. Chiawana was great on the boards on both ends. They hustled to get rebounds, and when we did get rebounds, we found a lot of opposition.
The Riverhawks (4-11, 2-7) outrebounded Richland 39-20, using the inside presence of Wesley Henderson and Victor Koval who combined for 24 points and 15 rebounds to take a 49-38 lead with 5:01 left in the fourth quarter.
Wren led Chiawana with 13 points, eight of them in the fourth quarter, including a putback off a scrappy offensive rebound to maintain a 51-43 lead with 3:30 left.
But those were the only Riverhawks points during a 13-2 Bombers run that tied the game at 51-51 with 1:06 left.
Koval hit a free throw with 33 seconds left to put Chiawana up 52-51, leaving Richland time to hold for the last shot. Radliffs go-ahead jumper left plenty of time for the Riverhawks to get one final game-tying opportunity, but Caziers drive into the lane proved unfruitful, as Nathan Streufert grabbed his biggest defensive rebound of the night.
Streufert finished with 12 points, five rebounds and two steals.
Coach Streufert credited Jacob DeVries with a pair of clutch fourth-quarter steals that set up Richlands comeback win.
Those were two unbelievable plays. That was classic Jacob. Hes such a heady player, Streufert said. We felt we could turn (Chiawana) over, but there wasnt a sense of urgency. We had to take some chances.
The loss left the Riverhawks down but not out. They are still in position to qualify for a spot in the district playoffs, which is all they need to prove themselves, according to Wren.
Every game, were still expecting to win, he said. I think as the playoffs roll around, well be ready for them.
RICHLAND DeVries 2, Crandall 4, Beo 5, Payton Radliff 21, Nathan Streufert 12, McCullough, Broeske 1, Hilty 4, Wheeler 5. Totals 19-42 14-22 54.
CHIAWANA Cazier 5, Aaric Wren 13, Briones 4, Victor Koval 12, Wesley Henderson 12. Totals 21-53 8-11 52.
Richland 11 14 12 17 54
Chiawana 11 10 18 13 52
Highlights 3-pointers: R 2-13 (Radliff 2), C 2-9 (Wren, Koval); Rebounds: R 20 (Streufert 5), C 39 (Koval 8, Wren 8); Turnovers: R 8, C 16; Steals: R 10 (Radliff 4), C 3 (Henderson, Koval, Wren).