Kamiak pulls away from Mariner in 4th quarter | Boys basketballEwing, Rucker hit key 3-pointers to lead Knights
Kamiak needed some players to step up during the fourth quarter of its Wesco 4A boys basketball clash with district rival Mariner.
With its top two scorers – senior co-captains Carson Tuttle and Christian Clausen – held somewhat in check and the Knights nursing a 45-43 lead at the start of the final period, seniors Travis Rucker and Swell Ewing answered the call.
Rucker connected on two 3-pointers and a pair of free throws and Ewing also hit two 3-pointers to help Kamiak to pull away for a 66-53 victory Dec. 16 at Kamiak High School.
Ewing scored a season-high 18 points and Tuttle, despite being on the bench for a good portion of the second half with foul troubles, contributed 13 points. Clausen scored 9 points and Rucker and senior wing Landon Overtuff each added 8 points.
“We’re happy, but we’re not satisfied,” said Ewing, who transferred from Mariner to Kamiak this season. “We have more to come.”
Knights coach Cory West was hoping that other players would start to establish themselves and saw Friday’s game as a prime opportunity.
“We had a lot of role players step up, which is what we’ve been waiting for,” West said. “Now we want to get everybody playing their role. … and then I think the sky’s the limit.”
Braden Leary’s basket at the start of the fourth quarter extended Kamiak’s lead to 47-43. Rucker then made two free throws and followed with back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Knights (1-1 in the league. 5-1 overall) a 55-45 lead at the 6:21 mark.
Mariner senior Drake Cardoza, who scored a game-high 31 points, then cut the Kamiak advantage to 55-49 with a basket and two free throws.
Ewing responded with two 3-point goals to give Kamiak a 61-49 lead with 4:02 remaining in the game.
The Marauders (0-2, 2-3) cut the deficit to 62-51 with about two and a half minutes to go but could not get any closer.
“We played well. We fought,” Mariner coach Tevin Dillon said. “We played with heart. They had their role players step up and hit some big shots that took them into the lead.”
Dillon praised the play of junior Edwin Bouah, who assumed the starting point guard role. Bouah was the Marauders’ second leading scorer with 6 points.
“Drake put the team on his back and tried to get the W,” Dillon added.
Mariner’s defensive goal was to contain Tuttle and Clausen and Dillon thought the Marauders did that.
“We took away what we wanted to,” he said. “We had guys step up and do a good job of that defensively.”
West liked how the Knights responded when Mariner tried to shut down Tuttle and Clausen in the fourth quarter.
“That’s when others have to knock down shots,” West said. “We were getting those shots earlier. People weren’t shooting them or they weren’t falling.”
Friday’s game was billed as Silent Night. The Kamiak student body section were quiet until the Knights scored their 10th point. A sluggish start resulted in Kamiak’s 10th point being scored with just over a minute left in the first quarter, a much longer time period than West expected.
West said that the Marauders came ready to play.
“All credit to them,” he said. “They came out aggressive and they got a couple of shots to fall. They got stops. I would expect to score 10 points faster than that in any game.”
Kamiak battled back to a 14-14 tie at the end of the first period and took 25-24 lead into halftime.
“We just weren’t taking our open shots,” Ewing said of the Knights’ slow start.
Kamiak junior wing Daniel Sharpe did not play due to a coach’s decision and Mariner senior guard Jalen Hayes also did not play due to school/college-related activities.
West is hoping Friday’s game will boost some of the Knights’ confidence heading forward. He noted that Tuttle will need breaks during games, although he played all 32 minutes in a 54-52 loss to Cascade on Dec. 13.
The Kamiak coach told his players to enjoy the win.
“They deserved the win, but we still want more improvement,” West said.
Dillon echoed those comments to the Marauders.
“It’s about getting better every day,” he said. “We did a good job of executing our game plan. We need to get better offensively.”