Tigers pour in 14 threes to upend Jacks

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Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin Herald Ephrata post Joshua Benthem (50) goes up for a rebound against Daniel Chavez (24) of Quincy in the second quarter of Friday night’s Central Washington Athletic Conference game.

QUINCY — Anytime the Ephrata Tigers can turn it into a 3-point shooting contest, they have the hands down advantage and Quincy never stood a chance in Friday night’s Central Washington Athletic Conference boys basketball game to open the new year.

Ephrata (8-3, 6-3 CWAC) buried six of its 14 3-point shots in the first quarter, scoring 20 points in the first five minutes, in a runaway 79-41 win over the Jacks at Woodworth Court at Quincy High School.

Tiger point-man Cameron Clark was nothing but net and nothing but threes, finishing with a game-high 15 points, including three of Ephrata’s six first-quarter bombs from beyond the arc. Jakob Oxos and Caden Blankenship had three trey’s apiece and both finished with 11 points apiece.

The difference in the Tigers running game moving forward is that they also got 6-foot-3 Joshua Benthem into the mix. The sophomore post finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Quincy’s Daniel Chavez led the Jacks with 15 points. Kaeden Murphy added nine points.

“Wanting to talk to the guy that doesn’t have a bunch of 3’s kind of hurts my feelings,” Benthem said with a smile. “We’ve been working a lot in practice on hitting the post, getting the high-lows and getting it inside more. My job is to get the rebounds and the put-backs, maybe kick it back outside. We have everything on this team. We go all out and push it, but we play pretty good defense.”

When your opponent scores 42 of its 79 points from beyond the arc, it’s hard not to by into the idea that you have to score three at a time to keep pace. Even though they did finish with seven 3-point goals, the Jacks (2-9, 1-8 CWAC) didn’t have the firepower to keep up and couldn’t find a way to slow the Tigers down.

“We wanted to play a slower pace and play more to our style,” Quincy coach Wade Petersen said. “We shot way too many threes. This isn’t a 3-point shooting contest. We have to prep harder, play smarter. We just really struggled on defending and got to shooting too many threes.”

The Jacks wouldn’t be the first team to try and match shots from long range with the Tigers, who had 22 from 3-point range earlier in the year. On Friday, Ephrata scored 51 points in the combined first and third quarters, then turned around and held the Jacks to just five points in the final period.

Ephrata coach Brandon Evenson calls ‘em lot of one-and-dones where Tigers control the defensive glass. One-and-dones combined with run-and-guns is proving to be a pretty effective game plan for a team that’s trying to chase down Selah (9-1, 8-1 CWAC) in the Central Washington Athletic Conference.

“The nature of our team is the perimeter game, but we’re also scoring inside,” Evenson said. “We’d like our bigs to get more touches because I think it will open up the outside for us. I liked our defense tonight, the kids really executed our game plan well. We like to play a defense we run well out of, and the transition has been our focus.”

Selah is on top of the CWAC with one conference loss. Wapato (7-2, 7-2) is one back and Prosser, Toppenish and Ephrata are in a logjam with three conference losses headed into the second half of the season.

Score by quarters

Ephrata 26 14 25 14 — 79 Quincy 11 11 14   5 — 41

EPHRATA — Trenton Kleyn 3, Jakob Oxos 11, Caden Blankenship 11, Andres Mendoza 5, Hunter Cleveringa 4, Hunter Jones 9, Cameron Heston 5, John Rawley 4, Cameron Clark 15, Josh 12. Totals — Field goals: 17. 3-point goals: 14. Free throws: 3-3. Points: 79.

QUINCY — Tyson Thornton 3, Kaeden Murphy 9, Gates Petersen 8, Kevin Rios 5, Daniel Chavez 15, Klayton Northrup 1. Totals — Field goals: 7. 3-point goals 7. Free throws: 6-9. Points: 41.

Selah 77, Quincy 34

QUINCY — Quincy fell behind 32-10 after the first quarter and lost to league-leading Selah 77-34.

Daniel Chavez scored a team-high 10 points, but couldn’t match sensational sophomore Elijah Pepper.

Pepper dazzled with 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Quincy next has a road game with Prosser on Jan. 13 before returning home to play Ellensburg on Jan. 14.

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