KENNEWICK -- The Kamiakin boys basketball team was happy to be back on the court Friday, and it showed it in a 64-53 nonconference win over Hermiston in Kennewick.
The Braves might have been a bit rusty after their football team made a long playoff run to the 3A state title game, but in their first game back on the hardwood they showed why they're the favorite to win the CBBN 3A.
Kamiakin's senior trio of Riley Hayfield, Tyler Holle, and Case Rada combined for 48 points and allowed the Braves to pull away from a talented Bulldogs squad that was playing its fourth straight road game.
"At the 5A level in Oregon, we're probably the best 1-3 team in the state," said Hermiston coach Larry Usher. "Our nonconference schedule is a murderer's row."
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Kamiakin coach Brian Meneely knew his team had to watch Hermiston's talented guards, led by senior Joey Burns and Alex Ortiz.
But the Braves guards showed their versatility, hitting shots from long range and using some muscle to punish the taller Bulldogs inside.
"I think Case really gave us a lot with his offensive rebounding. He was able to give us some second chances," Meneely said after Rada ripped down a pair of offensive boards during a 10-4 Braves run that helped them take control.
Rada also showed his composure at the free throw line, hitting 4 of 4 to ice the game over the final 36 seconds and 9 of 10 for the game.
He finished with 17 points to lead the Braves. Holle added 16 and Hayfield 15.
"We're just happy to get our first win," Rada said. "We knew they were a scrappy team. We talked a lot about team defense."
The teams traded the lead seven times in the first half and locked up at 30 all when Ortiz hit Burns inside with a bullett pass for a quick layin 1:57 into the third quarter.
"We knew they'd run four guards and that we'd have to defend all four spots on the floor," Meneely said. "The five days (of practice) we've had, we've really worked on trying to stop penetration."
But the Braves pulled ahead for good after Rada hit a free throw and Riley Hayfield drilled his third of four 3-pointers on the day during a 12-4 run that gave Kamiakin a 42-34 lead with just under a minute left in the third.
"At halftime, we talked about playing a little softer on the perimeter," said Usher, who was more concerned about locking things down inside the paint. "But we lost Hayfield a couple times and Rada was able to take a couple hard dribbles and get inside."
Hayfield also got the Braves started in the fourth quarter, hitting a deep 3 from the top of the key for a 46-38 lead just 17 seconds into the frame.
"He's the best shooter I've ever been around," said Holle. "He definitely gets the crowd into the game."
Burns led Hermiston with 20 points and Ortiz added 12.
HERMISTON -- Joey Burns 20, Boedigheimer 6, Simmons 3, Ortiz 12, Phillips 5, Eckhardt 4, Ross 2, Humphrey. Totals 22-58 4-7 53.
KAMIAKIN -- Case Rada 17, Tyler Holle 16, Fletcher, Anderson 6, Pedley 8, Hayfield 15, En'Wezoh 2, Wilmoth, Clyde. Totals 22-46 15-21 64.
Hermiston 10 14 14 15 -- 53
Kamiakin 12 14 17 18 -- 64
Highlights -- Garrett Anderson 7 rebs, Zach En'Wezoh 6 rebs; Riley Hayfield 4x6 3 ptrs; Trevor Phillips 6 rebs; Rada 6 rebs.