Pacific won for the third straight time and climbed over the .500 mark with a boys basketball victory Friday over Salem.
The Indians (3-2) broke open a close game with a fourth-quarter run in a 49-37 victory at Pacific High School.
Leading 31-28 after three quarters, Pacific outscored Salem 18-9 over the final eight minutes.
“We hit some shots down the stretch and played a solid game defensively,” said Pacific Head Coach John VanLeer. “We did a good job switching on screens in the fourth quarter and didn’t let them get good looks at the basket. We’re not a big team, but we have six or seven guys all around the same size that allows us to be effective at switching on screens. We’re pretty athletic. Our defense has been good.”
It was a big game offensively for cousins Cullen VanLeer and Brendan Jett-Kell, who combined to score 41 of the Indians’ 49 points.
VanLeer led all scorers with 27 points, 18 in the first half, to go with eight rebounds and six assists. He nailed three three-pointers in the first quarter, including one from approximately 30 feet away.
“Cullen shot the ball well and also got to the free-throw line,” VanLeer said. “He had a good all-around game.”
Jett-Kell gave the Indians a major scoring spark, going 4-5 from the three-point line to finish with 14 points. He also had three assists.
“Brendan made some big threes in the fourth quarter to give us some space,” VanLeer said about his nephew. “He shot the ball really, which he’s capable of doing. He also was 2-2 from the free-throw line.”
Zeth Boyer, Tanner Brown, Neil DeBold and Logan Armstrong each scored two points.
Armstrong grabbed four rebounds. Boyer added three rebounds and three assists. Brown had three rebounds and two assists.
Jeffrey Hinkle pulled down three rebounds. Noah Boyer and Stephen Watson also played.
The Indians were 10-16 from the free-throw line.
“Everyone played their role,” VanLeer said. “We missed some easy shots in the paint, but as long as we keep working, those shots will fall for us.”
Chad Elliott, a 6-3 senior guard, led Salem (1-1) with 20 points.
“Elliott gave us a little trouble. He’s a nice player,” VanLeer said. “Overall from top to bottom, we were the more balanced team.”
Trailing 12-11 after one quarter, Pacific came back to hold a 23-17 halftime advantage.
Jett-Kell drilled a three-pointer as the first half ended to give the Indians a six-point advantage.
The stands were nearly full at the Reservation.
“It makes it fun for our kids to play in front of large crowds,” VanLeer said. “Our student section has been awesome. Hopefully that will continue.”
The Indians also defeated Salem in the junior varsity game.