CASHMERE — The Pioneers put up a fight in the first half, but ultimately there was nothing they could do once the Bulldogs started to get out in transition during the second half.
Cashmere dominated the glass, played tenacious defense and outscored Omak by 22 points in the second half to win 78-42 Thursday night at home.
“It was nice to have the guys come out and play a little tougher defensively, but Omak makes it difficult,” Cashmere head coach Levi Heyen said. “They are very physical and have some quick guards that make it hard. But Sam (Phillips) is Sam — he’s going to score — and Carter (Alberts) had a nice game. I think when we make our runs we’re clamping down defensively and letting that sort of build energy.”
Cashmere led the entire game but Omak did cut the margin to seven a few minutes into the second quarter, forcing a time out from Heyen. Coming out of the stoppage, Cashmere got back to its defensive roots and bumped the lead back to double digits. Seniors Evan Bakken and Miguel Sanchez played big inside and pulled down several offensive rebounds for the Bulldogs.
“It comes down to who wants it more and Evan has a nose for the ball,” Heyen said. “And Miguel, he comes off the bench, chips in six points and grabs some crucial rebounds as well. I’m really happy for him, he’s one of those kids that goes to work all day and still comes to the game and finds that energy.”
The second half was all Cashmere; the team held Omak to just 17 points, and Heyen was able to empty his bench with a few minutes remaining in the game. Sam Phillips finished with a game-high 20 points, Alberts had 19 points, and Nate Phillips chipped in 14. Sophomore Angelo Vasquez-Ramos came off the bench in the last few minutes and looked good, draining a pair of 3-pointers and finishing with eight quick points.
“He’s super quick and he’s got a nice handle,” Heyen said of the sophomore guard. “When you’re young, it takes some time to get acclimated to the speed of the game but I thought tonight he came out against some quick guards and did a good job. He knocked down a few shots and took care of the ball.”
Cashmere heads to Royal to play its fourth game in five days tonight. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.
“They’ve handled the last week as well as I would expect, “Heyen said. “I want them to dive on the floor every time and play 100% but I have to realize graduation took a lot out of them. They’ve had a game Monday, Tuesday, Thursday — there is only so much they can give me. I’m really proud of how they’ve played; Monday’s game could have gone either way but they were able to pull that one out and then take care of business (Tuesday and Thursday). They’re not playing for me though; they play for each other and that’s been their mindset. I couldn’t ask for a better group.”