WALLA WALLA - It came down to the last few minutes for the DeSales boys in their 47-39 win against Mac-Hi Tuesday night.
The Irish, trailing by four points at the half and five with eight minutes to play at the quarter, weren't about to go down quietly. With less than four minutes remaining, Joe Solomon hit a deep jumper to create a 37-37 tie - the first tie since a 29-29 knot late in the third.
With Solomon's score, the Irish didn't stop, outscoring the Pioneers 5-0 in the next three minutes and 5-2 in the final 60 seconds for a late win in an aggressive, fast game that brought the audience to its feet in the border rivalry.
"After watching our JV win and our girls win, we didn't want to be the only team without a win," said Irish coach Allyn Griffin. "Effort-wise, they turned it up. We practice that way, and they've got the conditioning to push hard late in the game."
The opening-night win starts the Irish at 1-0.
Mac-Hi falls to 0-2 with the tight loss.
"I'm really proud of the boys," said Mac-Hi coach Sean Oliver. "They battled and the improvement from the last game to this one was all I asked. I want them to get better every game, and if this trend continues we'll see good things."
Mac-Hi outshot the Irish from the floor, nailing 16-of-37 and hitting four 3's, with two each off Jesse Field and Ricky Angel.
But fouls - the Pioneers had 28 to DeSales' 12 - made the difference in the quick game.
The Irish had 11 points on free throws while the Pioneers only sunk one from the line.
"We've got to take out the turnovers and silly mistakes," Oliver said. "We were up five at a crucial time and we gave the game away."
Griffin was pleased his team got out with the ‘W.'
"Mac-Hi did all right in pressuring us," he said. "You've got to give them credit. I'm really proud of our entire defensive play. They really stepped up. And a couple of free throws put us up there."
The Pioneers have their next chance to break into the win column in a tournament in Umatilla this weekend. They host the Irish again next Tueday.
"I feel bad for the boys," Oliver said. "They worked their tail off and just couldn't close."
The Irish travel to Enterprise for a tournament, while Mac-Hi is headed to Umatilla's tournament, which starts on the 9th.
DeSales 47, Mac-Hi 39
MAC-HI (39) - Field 3-9 0-0 8, Angel 8-12 0-0 18, Richwine 1-2 1-3 3, Hadden 3-6 0-0 6, Sandoval 0-2 0-0 0, Corona 1-2 0-1 2, Trevino 1-3 0-0 2, Ortiz 0-1 0-0 0. Team total: 16-37 1-4 39.
DESALES (47) - Mata 4-6 3-4 11, Cordeiro 4-11 2-2 11 Fazzari 4-7 2-5 10, Williams 0-2 1-3 1, Gregg 1-3 2-5 4, Elmenhurst 2-3 0-0 5, Donnelly 0-1 0-0 0, Solomon 1-3 1-2 3, Wales 1-1 0-0 2. Team total: 11-33 11-19 34.
Mac-Hi 9 13 12 5 - 39
DeSales 12 6 11 18 - 47
3-point goals - Mac-Hi 4 (Field 2, Angel 2), DeS 2 (Cordeiro, Elmenhurst). Total Fouls - Mac-Hi 28, DeS 12. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds Mac-Hi 22 (Angel 5, Hadden 5), DeS DNR. Turnovers - DNR.