Not many coaches would be in a good mood after watching their team score just four points in the opening quarter and five in the third quarter.
Still, Kamiakin boys basketball coach Brian Meneely marveled at the stat sheet following the Braves 43-37 Mid-Columbia Conference win over Walla Walla on Saturday in Kennewick, thankful that his team was able to manufacture a win despite a few slow spots.
(Walla Walla) is a really good defensive team. Baskets were hard to come by, he said.
Meneely then went on to praise senior guard Kylle Robertson, who scored a game-high 23 points to go along with five rebounds in Kamiakins seventh win in the last eight games.
The run hes been on and the level hes been playing at has been really impressive, Meneely said. As good a football player as he is, I dont know if he gets enough credit for basketball.
The Braves trailed 10-4 after one quarter, but Robertson scored 10 points in the second quarter including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the half to tie it at 22.
Walla Walla took the lead again after three quarters at 31-27, but Robertson who played all 32 minutes drained two more 3-pointers, made two steals and converted a three-point play over the final eight minutes to help Kamiakin secure the win.
I want the ball, but I absolutely trust my teammates, Robertson said. Loose balls were absolutely the key. The last time we faced them (a 44-41 loss in Walla Walla), a loose ball was the difference.
The Blue Devils had several chances to control the game, missing more than their share of short jumpers and lay-ins. But Wa-Hi coach John Golden said thats just part of the game.
We went inside early. Ross (Lake) had some good looks that just went in and out, Golden said.
The Blue Devils also missed the play of guard Eric Klicker, who sprained an ankle Friday night in an 81-45 loss at Richland. Spencer Locati filled in for him, scoring eight points, but Klickers absence was a factor.
Walla Walla shot 42 percent (8-of-19) in the first half but hit just 6 of 22 second half shots to finish at 34 percent.
Gabe Porter, the Blue Devils top scorer, led Wa-Hi with 11 points.
WALLA WALLA Steele 2, Gabe Porter 11, Locati 9, Lake 8, Handcox 4, Gogl, Harvey 3. Totals 14-41 2-7 37.
KAMIAKIN Kylle Robertson 23, Joseph 4, Holle 12, Petsch, Fowler 2, Wagar, Nelson, Bayles, Gurney 2. Totals 16-40 4-6 43.
Walla Walla 10 12 9 6 37
Kamiakin 4 18 5 16 43
Highlights 3-pointers: WW 7-21 (Porter 3, Locati 3, Harvey), K 7-19 (Robertson 4, Holle 3); Rebounds: WW 23 (Lake 8), K 32 (Fowler 7); Turnovers: WW 5, K 6.