After getting walloped by Pendleton in their meeting last week —a 81-32 contest that looked just as painful as it sounds — The Dalles Wahtonka was fired up for a fresh start Tuesday. If they laid on the gas from the tip off, maybe this game would be different, Eagle Indians’ post Grayson Byers said.
“We wanted to come out and give us a better chance to stay with them,” Byers said. “They’re a better team than us but we can play with them if we play hard.”
It worked — briefly. Pendleton wobbled to a 12-6 lead over the first five minutes of play before the Bucks stormed the net in a 81-47 blowout to finish their regular season slate and Columbia River Conference play. Pendleton (20-4,
12-0 CRC) broke loose on a 30-3 run from that point that lasted until just before halftime.
Court. The Dalles Wahtonka slips into the final play-in spot, just ahead of Hermiston.
The Bucks rolled through the CRC like a bulldozer with cruise control, winning their 12 games by an average of 25 points each. Pendleton reached the 20-win plateau for the fist time since the 2009-10 season, but is only ranked 17th in the state.
The Bucks’ RPI, which is crafted based on opponents played, has suffered due to the CRC’s bottom three teams that made up half of Pendleton’s schedule. All Columbia River Conference teams not wearing green and yellow have combined for a 14-52 record. Close to two months have passed since Pendleton has played another playoff dangerous team, Buckaroo Chaz Madsen said, but they aren’t unfamiliar to tough teams.
“Hopefully not. We’re going to have to really get after it in practice,” he said. “We played that kind of caliber before and we’ve beaten them.”
In their final conference walk with the boys from The Dalles Tuesday, the Bucks’ defense spurred the take over. Deon Davis was the star of the heists with eight steals, four of which occurred during Pendleton’s second quarter domination.
Davis finished with 21 points and had 11 at the break on 3-of-11 shooting from 3-point range. Coach David Norton allows Davis to shoot when he needs to, but they had to have a discussion at halftime about when to pull the trigger.
“If (the defense is) going to give it to me, well I might as well take it; that’s how I see it,” Davis said. He connected on 2-of-3 treys in the second half, but his 14 3-point shot attempts were still higher than any other player’s total field goal shots.
Bryan Beard caused havoc on defense for the Bucks, totalling seven blocked shots. He also scored 20 points that included a 6-for-7 effort from the free throw line.
The Dalles Wahtonka’s Grayson Byers produced double-double numbers with 18 points and 10 rebounds, but 10 of those points came in garbage time in the final six minutes of the game against five Pendleton bench players.