January 15, 2009

Bison bank on Brinkman

Standing at 6 feet 5 inches tall, Clay Brinkman has a hard time going unnoticed anywhere. And with his sluggish demeanor and easygoing personality, the Hazen senior is one of the more unique characters on the Bison roster.

Overshadowed by his teammate’s accomplishments so far this season, Brinkman peaked at just the right time this past week making sure the teams facing the Herd know not to overlook him. The Bison post had 39 points, 15 rebounds and six steals in two games, adding key elements in Hazen’s pair of wins.

"Clay (Brinkman) actually started to play more aggressively. He’s a veteran and we need our veterans to play well," head coach Randy Johnson said.

Hazen 68, Washburn 53

The beginning of Hazen’s non-conference contest with Washburn Jan. 6 was much like the rest of the Bison games. A high scoring jumpstart left the Herd ahead 22-15 after the first quarter.

Then in the second quarter, the force inside yielded a few freebies as both teams struggled to get clear shots. Hazen’s offensive rebounding was their saving grace as the shots just wouldn’t fall … the first, the second and sometimes the third try as they had scored only six points in more than five minutes of action. On the night the Bison out-rebounded Washburn 45-17, including 27 offensive boards.

Sparked by their catalyst leader, Chad Marshall swished a pair from the free-throw line and then Brinkman had the reverse layup for a 12-point lead. The Cardinals returned with a 5-0 run to finish the half down 34-25.

"Following the game we felt we made big strides offensively," Johnson said. "We’re trying to get everyone to understand their roles and what we need. At times we may need to make an extra pass to get a better shot. The whole thing we’re looking at is win at the end of the game."


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