Kame in command in Central’s victory
Although Central’s double digit wins over Horizon and Douglas County were impressive during the first two days of the Warrior Challenge boys basketball tournament, it was Saturday’s matchup with Bear Creek that was going to be the big test.
The Bears were also 2-0 in the tournament with wins over Fruita Monument and Grand Junction, with Bear Creek using its athleticism and depth to win.
Saturday’s game was to decide the Warrior Challenge championship and Central’s Clay Kame wasn’t about to let that opportunity pass by in his senior season on his home floor.
Kame scored 21 points, all in the first half, as Central won 75-54.
“We haven’t won the Warrior Challenge since I have been here, so it’s nice to get the three wins,” Kame said. “We are right where we want to be.”
Kame’s performance Saturday, in addition to the 19 points combined in the two previous games, earned Kame tournament MVP honors.
Kame attacked the Bear Creek defense, especially in the second quarter, going for 16 points.
What made the second quarter scoring spectacular even more impressive was that Kame, at
6-foot-1, was doing it against Bear Creek’s lineup of 6-8 Jeremiah Sirles, 6-5 Preston Rayburn and 6-2 Dujuan Mack.
“I knew they were calling fouls so I wanted to get in there and get them into foul trouble,” Kame said, “have them thinking about it and get them out of rhythm.”
Kame’s big quarter gave Central a 42-22 halftime lead.
“We knew they were going to make some defensive adjustments, we just didn’t know what they were going to do,” Central coach Phil Cain said. “Clay and the other guys did a nice job of figuring it out.”
The Bears’ defensive adjustment involved having Mack stick close to Kame on every Central offensive series in the second half. The attention paid to Kame’s driving ability opened up scoring opportunities for other players, especially on the perimeter.
The Warriors hit six 3-pointers in the third quarter, including three from Sean Citlau.
“I was moving without the ball trying to get open because they were guarding (Clay) really tight in the second half,” Citlau said. “They have a lot of height and talent so we had to keep up the intensity.”
Citlau finished with 18 points and three steals.
Rayburn was the only Bears’ player selected to the all-tournament team, finishing with 18 points, nine in the fourth quarter.
Kahler Grandbouche added 11 points and eight rebounds and Josh Wells had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Warriors.
“We were outsized but our guys still did a good job of boxing out,” Cain said. “It was big for us to compete against these Denver schools the way that we did.
“All three days we have played as a team and each night someone has stepped up to have double digits. I am glad we are out there competing and giving great effort.”