They move the ball on the offense, playing with discipline while looking for a better shot. They play tenacious defense and aren’t afraid to get on the floor when there’s a loose ball.
John Kiley, in his second season as the Olympia boys basketball coach, has his fingerprints are all over this season’s squad and the Bears, thought to be a potential league also-ran this season, look like they could make plenty of noise.
Zaiden Hernandez scored a team-high 16 points, Hunter Sipe added 11 and Kiley’s Bears rode a big first half to remain undefeated with a 70-47 road victory over Stadium in a 4A Narrows League clash on Friday.
“I felt (the first half) was our best half this year, but one of the things we talked about was being able to play 32 minutes like that,” said Kiley, who has the rare distinction of leading the Bears to a state title as a player in 1986 and to a state finals as a coach in 1998. “Give Stadium credit. They turned things up in the second half. They hit some shots.
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“We didn’t play the same in the second half and that’s something we need to work on.”
Olympia (4-0, 3-0 4A Narrows) also received eight points apiece from Brett Thompson and Eddie Beusch.
Zakhari Smith scored 16 points for the Tigers (2-3, 1-1), while Jaz Howard went for 14 points.
Howard’s 3-pointer with 4 minutes, 49 seconds remaining in the contest got the deficit down to 16 points at 61-45 for Stadium.
But the Tigers went scoreless over the next 4:02 and managed just a pair of free throws the rest of the way as the Bears turned up the intensity on defense to close out the game.
Hernandez outscored the Tigers all by himself in the first half, scoring all 16 of his points as Olympia enjoyed a gaudy 46-15 cushion at the break.
The Bears had nine players score in the opening two quarters with Olympia hitting six 3-pointers in the first half.
But Kiley appeared most excited with his team’s ability to draw charges on the defensive end, something that happen three times in the first half.
“One of the templates for our success will be taking charges,” Kiley said. “It will be boxing out, it will be diving on the floor.
“If our guys can go out there and give up their bodies for each other, we’re going to be a tough out this season.”
The Bears hit their first four shots from the floor and opened the contest on a 16-1 run.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Hernandez ballooned the Olympia advantage to 25-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Stadium was able to chip away at the deficit through the play of Howard and Smith, using an 11-0 run to pull within 20 at 52-32 on Smith’s 3-pointer a minute into the fourth quarter.