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Braves shoot down Honkers
Shea Shull's 14 first-half points for Hamilton nearly outscored Willows as the Braves built up a 31-15 lead at intermission and cruised to a 58-35 win over the Honkers in Hamilton City on Friday.
Shull dropped a trey to open the scoring, and the Braves only trailed briefly after Jake Martin put one in from the paint and Ryan Amaru sank a pair from the line to put Willows up 4-3.
Shull hit on his second attempt from 3-point territory and Tim Bekendam also connected from long distance as six different Braves scored in the opening period.
Willows was held to a rebound bucket by Amaru and a Chris Walter deuce as Hamilton pulled out to a 21-8 lead.
The Braves also proved that charity does indeed start at home, as they were more than willing to take advantage of what Willows tried to give them, sinking 11 of 12 attempts from the charity stripe.
Hamilton made just four shots during the third quarter, but three came via long-distance from Bekendam, Leland Prior and Ricky Pompa. Willows chipped away at the lead as Chase Lambert put up seven points in the period, and ended it with a 3-point play to make it 42-30.
Production off the bench helped Hamilton out-do Willows 16-7 down the home stretch to improve to 7-5 on the season and 1-1 in the Sacramento Valley League.
Shull finished with 16 points, Prior and Pompa both scored nine and Bekendam pitched in with eight. Bekendam tied with teammate Andrew Whitsett with five rebounds, and Bekendam and Pompa each made five steals.
"If we keep the intensity level high and pressure the ball, we force others to make bad decisions," explained Hamilton coach Brian Erickson.
Willows (3-8, 0-2 SVL) was led by Amaru with 16, and seven apiece from Martin and Lambert.
Hamilton is on the court for the weekend's Liberty Tournament, while Willows returns to the floor Jan. 8 at Gridley.
CONTACT Craig Purcell at 824-1036 or firstname.lastname@example.org.