KENNEWICK — The Kamiakin boys basketball team woke up Saturday with a bitter taste in its mouth after Friday's 66-61 loss at Hanford, a game that could have helped the Braves secure the No. 3 seed for the upcoming CBBN district playoffs.
That made Kamiakin's job a little tougher, needing to finish the season with victories at home against Eisenhower on Saturday and at Eastmont on Tuesday to get the No. 3 slot.
Fortunately, it also made the Braves a little hungrier.
"The kids were disappointed (with the loss)," said Kamiakin coach Brian Meneely. "I wanted to make sure we understood that this was an important game."
Kamiakin (15-4, 9-4 Cascade Division) is halfway there after a decisive 81-63 win over Ike (14-5, 9-4) on Saturday in Kennewick. The Braves shot an impressive 59 percent (33-for-56) in handing the Cadets their biggest loss of the season.
"We knew it would be a tough road here, and they came out with a vengeance," said Eisenhower coach Pat Fitterer, whose team can grab the No. 3 seed with a win at Hanford and a Braves loss Tuesday. "It's been a long time since we gave up 81 points."
Kamiakin's big men -- forwards Garrett Anderson and Justin Pedley -- did the most damage, combining to hit 15 of 22 shots for 37 points.
It was Anderson who set the tone. When Eisenhower defenders keyed on the Braves top trio of scorers -- Pedley, Case Rada and Tyler Holle -- he took advantage of some wide open looks.
Anderson, a 6-foot-4 junior, got Kamiakin started, taking a pass from Holle and draining a 3-pointer from the top of the key just 1:09 into the game. He scored nine of Kamiakin's first 11 points and took the heat off some of the team's other options.
"In the first half it seemed like he scored all our points," Pedley said. "He drew a lot of pressure."
In fact, Anderson hit another trey during a 17-4 second-quarter run that gave the Braves a 38-27 lead and kept the Cadets' defense off balance.
"I usually shoot one a game, but I figured what the heck," said Anderson, who finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
"He usually sticks to high-percentage shots, but one of his strengths is being able to spread the floor," Meneely said. "I liked the way we started, but you've got to play the final 16 minutes. Sometimes when you get a big lead you tend to lose focus, but we responded well in the second half."
The second half belonged to Pedley, a 6-4 sophomore who scored 16 of his game-high 22 over the final two quarters. He hit 9 of 11 shots, many of them with Robert Bonser -- Eisenhower's best post defender -- hounding his every move.
Bonser led Ike with 22 points, and James Lopez added 16.
"(Bonser) is a big, strong guy with lots of experience," said Pedley, who will draw another tough assignment Tuesday against Eastmont's Malachi Roberts, the CBBN's top scorer.
Pedley scored 10 points during a 19-5 third-quarter run that gave Kamiakin a 57-34 lead and all but put the game away.
EISENHOWER — Lopez 16, Morioka 5, Mount 8, Watson 9, Robert Bonser 22, Scott 3, Clayton, Urlacher, Zumwalt. Totals 21-53 17-25 63.
KAMIAKIN — Fletcher 6, Rada 14, Holle 11, Justin Pedley 22, Anderson 15, Hayfield 8, Welch, Wilmoth, Petragallo 1, En’Wezoh, Hunt 4. Totals 33-56 9-12 81.
Eisenhower 17 12 14 20 — 63
Kamiakin 21 17 27 16 — 81
Highlights — Rebounds: E 23 (Ryan Watson 6), K 29 (Garrett Anderson 8); Turnovers: E 12, K 11; Anderson 4 asts; Case Rada 6 rebs, 4 stls, 4 asts; Tyler Holle 5 rebs, 3 asts; Bonser 5 rebs.