The Strafford Indians didn’t need long to put away the Hunter Bishop-less Spokane Owls.
Strafford scored the game’s first 15 points and cruised to a 65-27 home victory on Tuesday night. Blake Alexander scored 14 as Strafford improved to 10-2 in its first action since losing to Ozark in the Blue and Gold quarterfinals on Dec. 27.
“We came out and played about as good as we could play to start the game,” said Strafford coach Mike Wilson. “And for the most part, we played really well the whole game. We shot the ball well, moved the ball, guarded and contested shots.”
Spokane didn’t score until freshman Christian Brown’s layup at the 2:40 mark of the first quarter. The Owls trailed 47-20 at halftime, and their zone defense did little to shut down an efficient Strafford offense.
The Indians’ ball movement along the perimeter led to open 3-point looks, and Strafford’s big men like Dylan Edwards (10 first-half points) thrived on the inside.
“We hadn’t been playing well against zone,” Wilson said. “We’ve been working hard at it, trying to attack it more off the dribble and getting some more movement.”
The 6’4 Bishop, a senior and Spokane’s top player, was on the bench in street clothes. Owls coach Larry Brown said he decided to rest Bishop, who has battled back and lower hamstring issues the past couple of years.
Spokane (9-6) entered the game having played seven games between Dec. 26 and Jan. 5.
“We knew coming in it would be a struggle for us playing without Hunter Bishop,” Brown said. “And I’m not taking anything away from Strafford; they’re good and they were really good tonight. They hit us in the mouth to start and we never recovered. They’re gonna beat a lot of people.”
Owls freshman Christian Brown had 10 points, nine coming in the first half. Coach Brown said Bishop may not play in Friday’s home game against Reeds Spring.
He said it’s important to have Bishop healthy for Spokane’s district tournament in mid-February.
“Bishop does as much for us defensively as he does offensively,” Brown said.
Strafford was also playing without one of its better players – junior forward Jacob Wade, who was on the bench but didn’t dress out. Wilson described Wade as being “out.”
Strafford hosts Blue Eye on Friday night.
Strafford 65, Spokane 27
Spokane 10 10 5 2 --- 27
Strafford 23 24 12 6 --- 65
Spokane – Christian Brown 10, Storm Price 5, Zach Turner 4, Eric Bowman 3, Brandon McCoy 3, Jimmy Cooper 2
Strafford – Blake Alexander 14, Dylan Edwards 10, Kyle Foley 8, Dalton Taylor 8, Brandon Foley 6, Brady Collier 6, Grant Boswell 5, Dallas Hester 5, Kyle Tate 3