KITTITAS — When trailing 34-29 at the half, the Kittitas High School boys basketball team decided it was going to put it in the hands of Justin Hudson.

With a player who has plenty of state championship experience, being part of the Coyotes three consecutive 2B state championships, Hudson was looking to give them the spark needed in the final two quarters.

Indeed, he did, but it wasn’t enough as the Coyotes fell to Riverside Christian, 73-59.

“I kind of put that on myself. I’ve been in the situations a little bit more than everyone else,” the senior said. “We have a young team, but we also have an older team that hasn’t really been there.”

Hudson, who already had 12 points at the half, scored 14 alone in the third quarter, knocking down four 3-pointers. Kittitas trailed Riverside Christian, 49-47, heading into the fourth.

Hudson tied the game up with a lay in to commence the final quarter, 49-49, but he went on a cold streak missing his next seven shots — most from beyond the 3-point line — before he finally scored a basket to cut the deficit, 59-53.

Soon after, he fouled out and Kittitas was never any closer the rest of the way.

Hudson finished with a sterling 33 points in the season opener — a career-high.

Riverside Christian dominated in the paint and drew many fouls throughout the game. Kittitas had issues stopping its 6-foot-3 senior Levi Rivera who tallied 37 points in the game.

When Riverside Christian led 51-49, Rivera scored the next 14 points to put them up, 65-55.

“It was really tough guarding the big man,” Hudson said. “I don’t think that’s an excuse.”

Senior Jaymeson Walters scored 10 points, freshman Connor Coles added eight and freshman Josh Rosbach and Kolten Udager each added four for KHS.

It wasn’t the ideal start for Kittitas, quickly trailing 10-0 with not being able to find its shot. Kittitas committed four turnovers and missed all five shots before it finally got on the board with Hudson finding Walters for a basket down low, 10-2.

Kittitas ensued to make four consecutive baskets with two from the lefty Coles. His 3 had Kittitas trail, 12-11. Coles also knocked down a 3 just before the half.

UP NEXT

Kittitas travels to St. George’s this Friday for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.

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