Hanford knocks off Kamiakin

February 5, 2013 

Cooper Clyde and Joe Douglas did what they’ve done all year, piling up the points for their teams Tuesday night during the Mid-Columbia Conference boys basketball finale.

Meanwhile, Hanford forward Matt Jones did what he always has dreamed about during the Falcons’ 47-46 victory at Kamiakin High School.

Clyde, Kamiakin’s sharpshooting guard, and Douglas, Hanford’s unstoppable force in the low post, each finished with 21 points in a titan battle of soon-to-be all-MCC first-teamers.

Jones finished with 10 points and six rebounds, but his contributions over the last 37 seconds helped lift the Falcons to the win and prevent Kamiakin from capturing a share of its third consecutive league championship.

The 6-foot-3 senior sliced through the lane with 37 seconds remaining, taking a pass from Jalen DeVine for a layup to cut the Braves’ lead to 46-45. Ten seconds later, he fed Brennan Sutey for a 2-footer in the lane for what would be the eventual game-winner.

“I saw (Sutey) out of the corner of my eye, so I just hurled it as fast as I could,” Jones said.

Hanford coach Paul Mayer said the team has come to depend on Jones for consistent contributions, especially now that he’s in the starting lineup.

“Nick Dobken beat him out for the starting spot at the beginning of the year, but he’s stepped in and really played well for us the last five games,” Falcons coach Paul Mayer said.

With Hanford trailing 31-17 at the start of the second half, Jones hit back-to-back buckets to help fuel Hanford’s 21-4 run that put the Falcons in front 38-35 with 38 seconds left in the third quarter.

“I was just trying to keep my composure and play with confidence,” Jones said.

John Petsch scored on a putback in the final ticks of the third quarter to bring Kamiakin back to within 1 point at 38-37.

Then things got really crazy in the fourth quarter. The two teams traded the lead four times and got locked in a 43-43 tie on Douglas’ bucket inside with 1:45 left.

Clyde hit a pair of 3s — he went 6-for-10 for the game from behind the arc — the last of which gave Kamiakin a 46-43 lead with 50 seconds left.

But Clyde said the Braves could have handled things a lot better offensively in the second half. The Falcons forced seven second-half turnovers.

“Their press just spit us up, and they were able to control the tempo,” Clyde said.

Clyde got one last look at a potential game-winning shot with 3 seconds remaining, a 16-foot jumper from just past the free throw line that bounced off the rim.

“We got the guy you want taking the shot you want shooting the shot he takes the most,” Kamiakin coach Brian Meneely said. “In a close game, when it comes down to a last shot like that, it’s always a flip of the coin.”

Clyde, for one, would love to flip that coin one more time.

“I got a pretty good look,” he said. “You just try not to fret about it and come back the next game.”

The Braves (15-5) won’t have time to despair about missing out on another league championship banner. They’ll need to be ready for Rogers, the No. 4 seed out of the Greater Spokane League next Tuesday.

Hanford (15-5), which picked up its fifth consecutive victory, will host Mt. Spokane, the No. 3 seed out of the GSL, on Tuesday.

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