KENNEWICK -- The Kamiakin Braves were raring to go Friday night for a key CBBN 3A matchup against Hanford in Kennewick.
With one game separating the two teams in the CBBN standings, the Braves were looking to create a little separation between them and the rest of the league.
Third-ranked Kamiakin (12-0, 6-0) got just what it wanted, recording a 62-35 home win over the Falcons (7-5, 4-2) to remain undefeated.
The Braves made a statement on their opening possession, working the ball around Hanford's 2-3 zone until Zach En'Wezoh found some space down low. Justin Pedley fired in the entry pass, and En'Wezoh delivered an emphatic two-handed dunk over Falcons' post Joe Douglas.
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The two players connected again three minutes later after Cooper Clyde missed a long 3-pointer from the left wing. En'Wezoh got position for the rebound, but instead tipped the ball to Pedley cutting underneath for an easy two points and a 6-2 lead.
At that point, the game was far from over, but Hanford never found a rhythm offensively. The Falcons trailed just 12-8 after one quarter, but fell behind 29-14 at the half after hitting just 3 of 12 shots in the second quarter.
"Any time you can hold a team to 14 points at the half is impressive. We came out focused on defense with really good energy," Kamiakin coach Brian Meneely said.
The Braves not only had to stop Hanford's top shooter, Bear Braich, but they also had to contain Douglas, the CBBN's third-leading scorer, down low.
Douglas kept Kamiakin occupied inside, but by the time it was over the 6-foot-4 senior had 10 points and four rebounds. He went scoreless in the fourth quarter.
"Douglas is one of the strongest kids in the league, and they've got some great shooters," said Pedley, who led all players with 19 points and eight rebounds. "We worked on closing out with our hands up. We needed a lot of help from our guards."
While the Falcons missed eight of their first nine shots of the second quarter, the Braves began pulling away with a 13-2 run, capped by Alex Quinn's soft 12-foot jumper to make it 23-10 with 2:09 left in the half.
Quinn finished with eight points and six rebounds, providing some clutch minutes off the bench. He also recorded two blocked shots in the final two minutes of the game to round out an impressive stat line.
"He's really long, and he's got the ability to distribute and make some baskets," Meneely said.
Douglas attacked the basket with 5:40 left in the third quarter, drew a foul and converted the and-1. However, that was the Falcons' only bucket of the third quarter, missing 11 others as the Braves opened up a 41-22 lead.
"You have to give credit to Kamiakin. They're the best defensive team we've faced all season," Hanford coach Paul Mayer said. "We've actually been a good scoring team, so I was surprised that we shot so poorly."
The Falcons finished 12-of-47 (26 percent), as Braich and Douglas scored 10 points apiece.
Braich came alive in the fourth quarter, hitting a pair of 3-pointers. Of course, by that time there wasn't much Hanford could do to get back into it.
"We coudn't find our offensive groove, and our margin for error was very small," Braich said. "The first quarter I thought we were still in it. When they started to pull away, we needed answers."
Meneely said his team isn't really affected by the pressure of being undefeated, because they meticulously avoid the topic.
"At no point have we ever talked about it," he said. "Our kids expect (the pressure). Those are things we expect of ourselves. We don't see games as as an opportunity to lose."
HANFORD -- Jones 7, Bear Braich 10, DeVine, Watson 4, Joe Douglas 10, Sutey, Serkowski 2, Dobken 2. Totals 12-47 9-12 35.
KAMIAKIN -- Clyde 11, Wilmoth 5, Williams 4, En'Wezoh 8, Justin Pedley 19, Shoop 1, Crandall, Quinn 8, Hunt 6. Totals 26-50 8-11 62.
Hanford 8 6 8 13 -- 35
Kamiakin 12 17 12 21 -- 62
Highlights -- Rebounds: H 21 (Braich 5), K 39 (Pedley 8); 3-pointers: H 2-12 (Braich 2), K 2-10 (Clyde, Wilmoth); Turnovers: H 10, K 11; Assists: H 7 (Jones 2, DeVine 2), K 17 (Wilomoth 6).