The Bickleton boys earned their first league wins of the season with back-to-back victories against the Klickitat Vandals and Trout Lake Mustangs this past weekend.
The Vandals had a good game plan against the Pirates last Friday, shutting down top scorer Nathan Powers and holding him to only 5 points in the game.
Fortunately for Bickleton, other players were able to step up and fill the gap, including Troy Roberts, who dropped in seven 3-pointers to lead his team to a 51-34 victory.
“That is the great thing about having several players that can be a threat,” said Bickleton Coach Jerry Roberts. “That night Troy was our main scorer. It was fun seeing him have his shots fall like I knew he was capable of doing.”
Clint Strader was also a threat for the Pirates, bucketing another 15 points, including two bombs from behind the three-point line.
Also contributing a lot to the win was Michael Underwood. Although he only scored 5 points, he pulled down 18 loose balls off the boards and also dished four assists.
“Michael, or we call him ‘Big Mike’ is really starting to learn how to be a force on the boards,” said Roberts.
Joe Cardenas also put in a strong effort, scoring 3 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
“The best part of the Klickitat game was that we played more as a team than we had been doing,” said Roberts. “It was fun basketball to coach and watch. I am proud of the team and their style of play that night.”
Saturday night at home the Pirates had a different sort of game as they struggled to score against the Mustangs.
“This is one of those games that we feel fortunate to win with the way we shot the ball,” said Roberts. “We could not get anything to drop for us. Therefore we had to do it with sheer hustle and determination.”
Powers led the Pirates with 12 points and Strader was a close second with another 11 points.
Underwood again had a solid game, scraping 14 rebounds off the glass for Bickleton.
“I am proud of the boys and their effort,” Roberts said of the 34-29 victory. “They worked for every point and had to play that scrappy type of basketball to stay in the game.”
The wins put Bickleton at 2-3 in league play and 6-9 overall.
“It was great to get a couple of wins,” said Roberts. “We really needed them as a team. I think the players are adjusting their games so that each one of them is improving no matter what skill level they are at. I love that we want to get better, but with this young team it will just take time.”
Bickleton will next host Lyle-Wishram this coming Friday, then visit Sunnyside Christian on Saturday.