KENNEWICK -- Kamiakin coach Brian Meneely was naturally pleased by his team's 3-0 start through last Monday, but he was still waiting for his team to put together a complete and well-rounded performance through all four quarters.
He will wait no more after the Braves' impressive 75-43 CBBN 3A road victory over Southridge.
"We've really been playing well defensively," he said. "We hadn't found our tempo on offense yet. We had to recognize who we are.
"Tonight we did a great job of that."
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Kamiakin (4-0) got an inspired effort from senior guard Case Rada, who led both teams with 17 points and five assists and also chipped in seven rebounds.
He scored nine points in the first quarter alone, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Braves an 18-9 lead.
"I think that gave us a little bit of momentum, but our big quarter was the third," Rada said of Kamiakin's 27-point outburst that pushed the game out of reach at 62-37.
Rada made a difference on both ends of the court, following up a pair of Tyler Holle misses in the first quarter and playing in-your-face defense all night. He also made his teammates better, as a point guard should, collecting five assists.
"I think a lot of our guys could shoot a lot more than they do, but they choose to make that sacrifice," Meneely said. "You have to have somebody who can give you a rudder. He never wavered, and he had great focus."
The Braves started the game on a 10-0 run, denying the Suns (2-4) their first points until Dallin Palmer cut into the lane for a layup with 3:21 left in the first to make it 10-2. Palmer sparked the Southridge offense almost by himself, adding a 3-pointer and another driving layin to cut Kamiakin's lead to 15-9 with just over a minute left.
"We didn't have much going offensively. I felt I had to start things up," said Palmer, who finished with 12 points.
Once Palmer got started, Matt Mendenhall picked things up after missing his first five shots. Mendenhall, a returning All-Columbia Division guard, hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter as the Suns stayed within striking distance at 35-24.
"Every game, Dallin is getting much better and being aggressive, and we look for him to continue that," said Southridge coach Jason DeVere.
Southridge hit eight 3-pointers in all, including five in the second quarter alone, but the Suns struggled to get their post players into the offensive flow.
"(3-pointers) definitely kept us around, but we knew we couldn't live off that," DeVere said. "We were hoping do get Derek (Porter) involved."
But Porter only managed 10 points, and Kamiakin's aggressiveness inside gave them a 32-20 rebounding edge.
In the third quarter, the Braves found a rhythm on offense, hitting 11 of 15 shots while establishing 6-foot-6 post Zach En'Wezoh inside. En'Wezoh scored all eight of his points in the final 2:55 of the quarter, including a three-point play off a feed from Rada that made it 55-37 with 2:06 left.
"I love assists. I'm a point guard, so that's my mentality," Rada said.
Mendenhall led Southridge with 16 points, including four 3-pointers. But he was just one of five Suns players to hit the scoring column.
The Braves, meanwhile, put 10 players on the floor and all of them scored. Holle added 15 points, and Shad Fletcher and Justin Pedley had nine apiece.
"They're a really good team," Palmer said. "They've got five guys who can score. It's hard to play help defense when everybody can score."
KAMIAKIN -- Case Rada 17, Tyler Holle 15, Fletcher 9, Anderson 8, Pedley 9, Hayfield 2, En'Wezoh 8, Hunt 2, Williams 2, Clyde 3. Totals 29-54 12-16 75.
SOUTHRIDGE -- Palmer 10, Jones 3, Matt Mendenhall 16, Scott, Porter 10, Keef, Molt, Willard 2. Totals 16-45 3-6 43.
Kamiakin 18 17 27 13 -- 75
Southridge 9 15 13 6 -- 43
Highlights -- Rebounds: K 32 (Rada 7, En'Wezoh 6), SR 20 (Mendenhall 8); Rada 5 assists; 3-pointers: K 5, SR 8 (Mendenhall 4).