In two games at The Dalles Wahtonka this season, Pendleton earned a pair of wins, but only by an average of 12 points. The offense played with hiccups in those meetings, without the cool flow that the boys’ basketball team has tried to work on late this season.
So when they met again, this time in the friendly embrace of Warberg Court on Tuesday, the Bucks were out for blood. Pendleton (18-4, 10-0 CRC) leveled the Eagle Indians (5-16, 4-6 CRC) better than any steamroller could, drowning The Dalles Wahtonka in a 81-32 off-the-charts statistical showing.
“We all made it a goal because we have kind of been playing bad against The Dalles,” Buckaroo guard Deon Davis said. “We thought we needed to turn it up and get running from the jump.”
And that they did.
Score: 2-0 Bucks.
It didn’t take long before that 2 turned into a 52 at halftime as Pendleton took a 40-point lead to the locker room.
Rampant assisting and ball movement marked the first-half massacre. The Bucks assisted on nine of their first 12 made baskets and ran that total to 15 by the half.
By the game’s forgone conclusion, the Bucks had 33 made shots with 21 assists, including eight from guard Darius Polhamus and another six from Davis.
Those assists spanned a wide spectrum: drive-and-dish plays, backdoor-bounce passes and no-lookers alike. Some passes came out so hot they could have left vapor streams as the Bucks underneath the hoop were just as likely to snare the ball for an easy bucket as take one off the chest.
Bryan Beard and Chaz Madsen benefited most from the ball sharing, scoring 15 and 10 points, respectively. Madsen was a shining 5-for-5 from the floor while Beard shot 7-for-9 and added five blocked shots.
“We’re getting closer to the playoffs so we’re trying to play more as a playoff team, not playing down to other teams,” Polhamus said. “We’ve been running the floor trying to get everybody involved.”
Polhamus also added 15 points while Davis had a game-high 18. The Bucks shot nearly 70 percent from inside the 3-point arc.
No Eagle Indian hit the double-digit point mark.
The Bucks have beat up on the Columbia River Conference’s bottom three but Pendleton coach David Norton said he doesn’t expect a letdown against the stacked lineups that come with tournament time. Their pounding preseason schedule, which included three games against Class 6A schools at the South Salem Winter Classic, made for good practice.
“We played a lot on the road just to try and build that up just so when we did have to go on the road (in the postseason) we had the experience,” Norton said.
The Bucks close out the regular season with two more home games in the next week, starting with Hermiston on Friday.