KENNEWICK -- For four minutes Tuesday night in Kennewick, the second-ranked Kamiakin boys basketball team found itself in a ballgame, trailing West Valley by a point after Jalen Peake's runner in the lane with just over four minutes left in the quarter.
Then the Braves showed the Rams the nastier side of life on the road, holding them without a field goal for the next 10-plus minutes, building up a 14-point lead en route to a 60-44 CBBN 3A victory.
"They're different than any other team in the league in terms of the way they defend," West Valley coach Jon Kinloch said. "They don't give many clean looks, and they contest shots on every possession."
The Rams shot 16-for-49 (33 percent) and struggled to hit from outside. Ten of their 16 field goals came from inside the low post.
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Meanwhile, Kamiakin brought plenty of balance to their offense, as guards Cooper Clyde and Javan Williams combined for 23 points while post Justin Pedley led all scorers with 17 points. The Braves shot 22-of-50 (44 percent), including 7 of 16 (44 percent) from long range.
"That's what we wanted to get to. At the beginning of the year, our strength was our bigs, but we wanted to continue to grow on the perimeter without losing our identity," Braves coach Brian Meneely said.
Clyde opened things up inside for Kamiakin, hitting four 3-pointers and finishing with 12 points. Cody Wilmoth also hit a pair of treys to keep the Rams defense honest.
"That was huge. Once Cooper started hitting, that left the middle open for me and Zach (En'Wezoh)," Pedley said.
While West Valley missed eight consecutive shots between the first and second quarters, Clyde helped fuel a 16-0 Braves' run to push the lead to 21-6 with 4:48 left in the half. En'Wezoh capped the run by grabbing a defensive rebound and firing a full-court chest pass to Williams for an easy lay-in on the other end.
"Defense is such a big part of what we do. It's what we stress the most," Clyde said. "We try to hold teams under 40 if we can."
The Rams' offense showed some fire to open the second half, as Jason Dresker connected with Austin Strock for a pair of alley-oop dunks on West Valley's first two possessions. Strock then stole the ball from Clyde at halfcourt and drove in for a layup to cut the lead to 32-20.
But Clyde drained back-to-back 3-pointers to spark a 12-4 run that gave Kamiakin a 44-22 lead with 2:03 left in the third quarter.
"Not only did (Clyde) shoot well, but he's been defending well. He's turned into a complete basketball player," Meneely said. "What he does cannot be summed up by what's in in the box score."
Meneely said the Braves let off the gas a bit in the fourth quarter, but he was pleased with the overall effort.
"We quit rebounding in the fourth quarter. Teams are going to make runs. You've got to keep defending," he said. "Still, we had an opportunity to get a lot of kids in the game."
Pedley and Williams finished out the game in strong fashion, combining for 13 of Kamiakin's 16 points in the fourth quarter.
The Braves outrebounded the Rams 38-27, led by En'Wezoh's nine.
Strock led West Valley with 13 points. Dresker finished with 11 points, five rebounds and five assists.
WEST VALLEY -- Peake 2, Cluff 5, Pettingill, Dresker 11, Austin Strock 13, Wallace 3, Gilliam 3, Peters, Juarez 5, Landis 2. Totals 16-49 8-11 44.
KAMIAKIN -- Clyde 12, Wilmoth 6, Williams 11, En'Wezoh 10, Justin Pedley 17, Shoop, Crandall, Quinn 2, Hunt 2. Totals 22-50 9-13 60.
West Valley 6 8 16 14 -- 44
Kamiakin 12 16 16 16 -- 60
Highlights -- Rebounds: WV 27 (Dresker 5, Strock 5), K 38 (En'Wezoh 9); 3-pointers: WV 4x17 (Cluff, Wallace, Dresker, Juarez), K 7x16 (Clyde 4); Turnovers: WV 8, K 9; Assists: WV 9 (Dresker 5), K 15 (Wilmoth 5).