A Pendleton Buckaroo halftime lead disappeared amid a flurry of 3-point shots in the the third quarter of Saturday’s game against Clarkston (Wash.) and the Bucks could never recover. After pulling within five points twice, Pendleton eventually lost 71-61 in the Red Lion Classic basketball finals.
Pendleton (4-1) had held the Bantam’s outside shooting game in check until sophomore Kage Sobotta starting throwing everything through the hoop from long range. He hit four 3-pointers in a 24-point third quarter for Clarkston (4-0). The visiting team knocked down six 3-point shots in the quarter despite tight coverage from the Bucks’ defenders.
“If you’re contesting them and they fall, you’ve just got to look past it and worry about the next play and keep your head straight,” Pendleton senior Darius Polhamus said.
Pendleton’s Darius Polhamus puts up a jump shot guarded by Pasco’s Brian Arroyo in a boys’ basketball game on Friday in Pendleton.
The Bucks tried to keep focused, Polhamus said, but as the deficit started to loom larger than the game time remaining, the Buckaroo offense grew continually less polished.
“It was just a fast paced game and a lot of people were trying to get open looks where they could,” he added. “Some of them were maybe not as good of quality as they could have been. It’s just everybody trying to get their chip in and make up for our mistakes on defense.”
In an attempt to lengthen the game, the Bucks resorted to fouls in the final quarter. Coupled with earlier foul trouble, the tactic ousted three Pendleton starters from the game with five fouls long before the final whistle. Polhamus led the Bucks with 20 points before he too fouled out with five minutes to play.
That left the Buckaroos with a youthful lineup to finish the game. With several of the offensive sparks on the bench, Pendleton couldn’t make a comeback — but the lead for Clarkston didn’t grow either.
“We were rebounding better and controlling the ball better but again we had lost so many starters, it was hard to stay out there with (Clarkston),” said Pendleton’s Isaiah Moses, who scored four of his seven points in the fourth quarter off the bench.
“We’re a team that won’t ever give up,” Pendleton head coach David Norton said of his deep bench. “It’s tough when you get down 15 points. You could just hang it up and say, “We’re done,” but the kids kept battling through it. We had our shots down to the end of the game.”
Clarkston held their lead by making free throws aplenty. They attempted 20 free throws in the fourth quarter, making 13. Drew Adams led the Bantams in scoring with 20 points with 12 of those coming from the line.
In the consolation game earlier on Saturday, Sandpoint (Idaho) beat Pasco (Wash.) 37-33.