BICKLETON - A breakneck type speed contest that Bickleton Coach Jerry Roberts indicated was won because of his team's effectiveness in closing the lid on the basket when Yakama Tribal had the ball snapped a three-game losing streak for the Pirates last night.
Tuesday's 61-54 victory over the visiting Eagles gives the Bickleton High School boys basketball team a sweep of Yakama Tribal in their two Greater Columbia 1B League match-ups this season. Last night's win also squares the Pirates' conference record at 4-4, and improves their overall mark on the season to 10-8.
"I think they (Yakama Tribal) play their best when they play us," said Roberts. "It was a fast paced game with our defense winning the game for us."
The Pirates' defensive play ended up forcing Yakama Tribal into committing 25 turnovers. Bickleton's leaders on the defensive end of the court included Taylor Brown, Peter Clinton and Mitchell Powers with three steals apiece. Nate Powers and Kane Lowe each came up with two swipes of their own.
"And, we controlled the boards at critical times," Roberts added. The stats bear that out, as Bickleton's boys came away with a 55 to 39 rebounding advantage.
The top rebounder for Bickleton was the 6-4 senior Brown. He scraped 14 loose balls off the glass. Also crashing the boards hard for the winners was 5-11 senior Justin Roberts with nine caroms gathered in. Nate Powers, a freshman standing 5-10, gathered in eight rebounds - seven from the offensive glass. Clinton, at 5-9, and 5-11 Mitchell Powers, both seniors, had a combined 15 rebounds.
From an offensive standpoint, neither club could get much of anything to fall. The Eagles connected on 35 percent of their field goal attempts (19-for-54), while Bickleton went 23-for-72 from the field (32 percent).
"We shot miserable," Coach Roberts admitted, pointing out his Pirates' long-range bombs from behind the 3-point arc only found their target 2-of-13 times, and Bickleton was a paltry 13-for-30 from the foul line.
With those types of shooting numbers, Coach Roberts said "...I feel lucky to get this win."
Luckily for the host team, two of the Pirates did get good looks at the bucket. The younger of the two Powers boys, the freshman Nate, poured in 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the floor, which included going 2-for-5 from treyland. He also made 4-of-6 from the free throw line. Bickleton's big man, the 6-4 Brown, also lit up the scoreboard for 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting from two-point range. Brown, too, was 4-for-8 from the charity stripe.
Freshman Kane Lowe chipped in a 7-point effort for the winners, making 3-of-4 foul shots in the process.
At times last night, especially with most of the shots not falling, it would have been easy for the Pirates to have thrown in the towel. Coach Roberts praised his players, though, saying "...the team really kept their head in the game when it would have been easy to play chaotic.
"I hope that will make us better down the road."
The Bickleton boys hoop squad has two regular season games left on its schedule before postseason action begins. Both of those contests are league affairs, the first this coming Friday at Klickitat and the second the following night at home against Trout Lake/Glenwood.