PENDLETON — The Pendleton Buckaroos have owned the Columbia River Conference over the past three seasons, winning three consecutive conference titles in rather dominating fashion. And in the final year of the current CRC’s existence, the Buckaroos are determined to leave on top again.
The Buckaroos extended their win streak in the CRC to 14 games following Friday’s 78-62 victory over The Dalles at Warberg Court. Pendleton’s last league loss came way back on Feb. 12, 2016, when they fell at home to rival Hermiston.
“We have guys that are fierce competitors and know what’s on the line in these games and love that feeling,” Pendleton coach Kyle Tedder said afterward. “They want to play for something and now every game is so meaningful and the guys just step up in big games. That’s what good players and good teams do.”
The Buckaroos (10-7 overall, 2-0 CRC) had another big night from junior Tyler Newsom, as the junior finished with a game-high 27 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Newsom struggled with his jump shot, going 0 for 4 from 3-point range, but he was a mismatch for the Riverhawks defense and dribbled through and around their defense all night to score 22 of his points in the paint.
“I was just taking what they were giving me,” Newsom said. “Getting to the hoop is what I’m best at, so I just kept going in.”
The Buckaroos’ entire team found success in the paint, with 60 of the their 78 points coming from inside at an incredible 68 percent (31 for 45) success rate.
“That was huge for us,” Tedder said of the efficiency inside. “We’re committed to pounding the paint and we’re starting to commit to all the things we gotta do to win games. We just have to continue to do that and continue to get better now.”
The Riverhawks (8-8, 0-2) did most of their offensive damage from 3-point range, as they sank 11 for the game and made 11 field goals inside the arc. Jacob Hernandez led the team with 18 points and was 4 for 6 from three and Josh Nisbet had 15 points and was 3 for 3 from three.
The Riverhawks’ sharpshooting helped them with a scoring surge to star the second half, as three straight makes from deep vaulted them into a 43-42 lead with 4:35 left in the third quarter. It was their first lead since a 12-11 advantage late in the first quarter.
“We came out a little slow and didn’t get to their shooters in time,” Newsom said. “But then we picked it up and cruised from there.”
Pendleton immediately grabbed the lead back 45-43 on a 3-pointer by Dakota Sams from the top of the key and then led 55-46 at the end of the quarter before cruising in the fourth.
“Games evolve over the course of 32 minutes,” Tedder said, “and it’s how you adjust to things over the course of that time. I thought we did a great job, especially in the third and fourth quarter, of responding and letting them know who the better squad is right now.”
And while Newsom’s game grabbed the headline, a few Buckaroos put together solid contributions. Richard Scott had 11 points with six rebounds, Ryan Russell had eight points and 11 rebounds, Willie Camp had six points and nine boards, and Sams had 10 points and five assists.
Now, Pendleton turns its focus to Tuesday night when it travels to Hermiston, who beat Hood River 77-74 on Friday, with its win streak on the line and the Buckaroos are ready for the fight.
“Oh yeah, we’re always ready,” Newsom said with a smile.
TDS 14 16 16 16 — 62
PHS 19 19 17 23 — 78
THE DALLES — J. Hernandez 18, J. Nisbet 15, O. Fernandez 11, D. Murr 10, J. Bonham 2, H. Lee 2, J. Knotts 2, D. Seufalemua, J. Hernandez.
PENDLETON — T. Newsom 27, R. Scott 11, D. Sams 10, R. Russell 8, D. Jackson 6, W. Camp 6, S. Jerome 6, K. Broncheau 2, L. Evens 2, G. Lee, C. Sandford, M. Gallegos.
3-pointers — TDS 11, PHS 2. Free throws — TDS 7-9, PHS 10-19. Fouls — TDS 20, PHS 11.
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