116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Jaden Harris was really good early and really good late.
Thus, his Cedar Rapids Washington boys’ basketball team started out the new season with a really good win.
Harris had a go-ahead putback with 1:09 left, made a pair of free throws and drew a key charging foul after that as Wash squeezed past Bettendorf, 62-54, in the opening game for both schools.
“Just his energy late,” said Washington Coach Justin Decker. “The guys fed off of that.”
Harris had eight of his team’s 11 points in the first quarter, but got saddled by foul trouble, which made him less of a factor in the middle two quarters. The junior guard came alive down the stretch, though.
“I wasn’t trying to take over,” Harris said. “At that point, the most important thing was the win. I was just trying to get out with the win. Whether it was me scoring, or my teammates scoring, I was just trying to get everybody involved. Tonight it just ended up being me. That’s pretty much it.”
The game was tied at 54 with 1:35 left and Bettendorf with the ball out of a timeout. But Washington’s quick hands defensively, on full display throughout this one, created a steal and a layup attempt that missed.
Harris hustled down the floor and was there for the putback for a 56-54 Wash edge with 1:09 left. Washington got a huge block underneath by sophomore J.J. Willis, with Harris eventually fouled, going to the line and hitting two free throws for a 58-54 Warriors lead with 42.4 seconds remaining.
Harris drew a charging foul underneath as Bett’s Hyson Bey-Buie went up for a shot. Traijan Sain eventually was fouled and hit two free throws to extend the lead to 60-54 with 17.8 left.
To top it off, Harris threw a perfect long lob pass from the time line out of bounds that Sain gathered in the air and two-hand jammed home as the final seconds came off the clock. Harris finished with 17 points, Sain 16.
“We’re leading the whole game,” Decker said. “Four minutes to go, WIll Hodges, our starting point guard, is out (with calf cramps), and all of a sudden they take the lead. But these guys, even though they’re young, juniors and sophomores, they’ve been playing a couple of years, and that experience showed in the end.
“We’ve got a lot to clean up, we know our weaknesses, so it’s focusing on getting better every day.”
Washington won 14 games and made it to a Class 4A substate final last season with three sophomore starters (Sain, Harris and Jesse Sellers) and a freshman (Hodges) as the first guy off the bench. They have some expectations this season, even if they are an undersized team with no true post player.
“Most of us have been playing together 10 years, so that helps a lot,” Harris said. “We’ve got a lot of great chemistry. It almost just flows automatically, if you know what I’m saying ... Yeah, we are lacking size. So we definitely have to compensate with speed and hands and agility.”
“We’ve got some quick guards, and they’re athletic,” Decker said. “Mixing up our defenses and pressuring teams is in our DNA. Really, we just need to get stops and get out in transition because I believe we’re one of the fastest teams in the state running the floor.”
Caden Wilkins had a game-high 23 points for Bettendorf. The 6-foot-6 wing is considered perhaps the best sophomore in the state and at times in this game simply had his way with Washington from an offensive standpoint.
AT CEDAR RAPIDS WASHINGTON
BETTENDORF (54): Hyson Bei-Buie 1-5 0-4 2, Caden Wilkins 6-14 10-11 23, Jaden Tyler 2-9 1-2 5, Cameron Figgs 2-6 3-5 8, Landon Butler 2-2 2-2 7, Jackson Gross 1-3 0-0 2, Spencer Del Vecchio 1-3 0-0 2, Asher Wade 1-1 0-0 2, Everett Parker 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 17-44 16-24 54.
C.R. WASHINGTON (62): Omoro Crusoe 1-1 4-4 7, Traijan Sain 4-17 7-10 16, Jaden Harris 6-9 3-5 17, Will Hodges 1-5 0-1 2, Jesse Sellers 2-8 0-0 4, J.J. Willis 2-2 1-2 5, Bryce Brim 1-3 0-1 2, Stephen Cain 3-5 0-0 7, Braden Becker 1-1 0-0 2, Landis Pietrzak 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-51 15-23 62.
Halftime - Washington 30, Bettendorf 21. 3-point goals - Bettendorf 4-10 (Wilkins 1-4, Tyler 0-2, Figgs 1-1, Butler 1-1, Del Vecchio 0-1, Parker 1-1), Washington 5-19 (Crusoe 1-1, Sain 1-4, Harris 2-4, Hodges 0-3, Sellers 0-3, Brim 0-1, Cain 1-3). Rebounds - Bettendorf 35 (Wilkins 7), Washington 30 (Sain 6). Total fouls - Bettendorf 18, Washington 20. Fouled out - Tyler. Turnovers - Bettendorf 17, Washington 9.
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