COLLEGE PLACE — A track meet broke out here at the Walla Walla Valley Academy gym Tuesday in boys Southeast 2B South Division basketball action.
Both DeSales and WWVA brought their running shoes as the teams pressed end-line to end-line.
In the end, the Knights converted 33-of-60 shots from the field, many of those coming at the end of fastbreaks and by way of driving lay-ups, and ran off the Irish, 82-45.
"DeSales wanted to play up-tempo," Knights coach Les Balk said. "We tend to play full-court up-tempo as well, so that was fine with us to play full court. We had some good looks that got us opportunities in a transition situation, and we’ve got some kids that can finish. They did a nice job tonight."
The Knights opened on a 15-4 run following a Marshall Failing free throw with 4:04 left in the first quarter, but DeSales responded behind consecutive treys from Lucas Fazzari and Shea Crowley to get within 15-10 at the 2:56 mark.
Victor Mata pulled the Irish to within 19-15 with seven seconds left in the first, and that proved to be the last hurrah for the Irish.
On the ensuing Knight possession, Michael Hanson heaved a shot from mid-court in an effort to beat the buzzer. Hanson’s shot hit the glass, but Caleb Sauerbier was there to clean up the miss and, without coming down, Sauerbier put it in and was fouled.
After the referees determined that the play did beat the buzzer, Sauerbier, who was a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor in the quarter, drained the free throw for a 22-15 WWVA lead after the opening eight minutes.
The Knights never looked back.
"He (Sauerbier) got a great rebound," Balk said of the play. "I’m not sure how much time was on the clock or not, but he’s playing until the whistle blows. He went up strong and made the play."
The track meet was on. The Knights scored 31 second-quarter points on 12-of-16 shooting from the floor, allowed no Irish defensive rebounds and held the Irish to 4-of-17 shooting.
Matt Moore and Hanson each scored seven points in the quarter, Daniel Lomeland added six, and the Knights went to intermission up 53-27.
"We’re still not that efficient at playing at that pace," Irish coach Mike Giusti said. "We would miss a shot, now our guy that missed is out of bounce, and they are running 5-on-4, which is want we want to do. They are good and way more experienced than we are."
The Knights settled into a less frantic pace over the last 16 minutes and outscored DeSales 29-18 in the second half to run the final to 82-45.
Brad Luce led a quartet of Knights in double digits with 17. Sauerbier and Moore each scored 15. Hanson scored 10 points and handed out six assists in leading the WWVA break.
Lomeland and Sauerbier each grabbed eight rebounds in leading the Knights to a 51-23 rebounding edge.
If there was a chink in the armor, it was in taking care of the ball as WWVA committed 31 turnovers in the fast-paced affair.
"In your third game, you want to do better," Balk said of the turnovers. "(However) in that fast pace, you’re going to get some turnovers."
For the Irish, Crowley and Sean Williams led the way with eight points each.
DeSales drops to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in the division.
"I’m proud of our guys as we’ve done some things each night out and gotten better in certain areas," Giusti said. "We’re still in the infinitesimal stage of developing this (up-tempo game). We’re just getting our feet wet."
The Irish host Sunnyside Christian today at 5:30 p.m.
WWVA evens its division record at 1-1, 2-1 overall, and takes a holiday break until traveling to Dayton on Jan. 5.
DESALES (45) — Crowley 2-3 3-6 8, Haen 2-4 0-0 5, Williams 2-7 3-4 8, Gregg 2-12 1-5 5, Fazzari 1-7 0-1 2, Eastman 2-3 0-1 5, Wujek 2-6 1-4 5, Wales 1-1 0-0 2, Zimmerman 0-0 0-0 0, Mata 2-13 1-2 5. Totals 16-56 9-23 45.
WWVA (82) — Sauerbier 7-8 1-1 15, Moore 5-12 5-8 15, Scott 2-5 0-1 4, Luce 7-12 2-4 17, Fry 1-1 0-0 2, Whitlake 2-2 0-0 4, Croft 0-1 0-0 0, Hanson 4-10 1-1 10, Failing 2-5 5-6 9, Lomeland 3-4 0-0 6. Totals 33-60 14-21 82.
DeSales 15 12 7 11 — 45
WWVA 22 31 16 13 — 82
3-point goals —DeS 4-13 (Crowley 1-2, Haen 1-2, Williams 1-1, Fazzari 0-3, Eastman 1-1, Mata 0-4), WWVA 2-14 (Moore 0-1, Scott 0-2, Luce 1-6, Croft 0-1, Hanson 1-4). Total fouls—DeS 18, WWVA 21. Fouled out—none. Technical fouls—none. Rebounds—DeS 23 (Williams 4, Fazzari 4), WWVA 51 (Sauerbier 8, Lomeland 8). Turnovers—DeS 27, WWVA 31. Assists—DeS 5 (Gregg 3), WWVA 12 (Hanson 6).