WALLA WALLA - Wa-Hi overcame a scrappy Eisenhower team, which played without leading scorer James Lopez, for a 58-52 Big Nine Conference boys' District 9 playoff basketball victory Friday at the Blue Devils' gym.
The win books the Blue Devils a berth in the 4A Eastern Regional playoffs next week. Wa-Hi played Davis Saturday in a battle for the third and fourth seeds.
Wa-Hi, 19-4 after Friday, travels to Spokane for a first-round regional game on Tuesday.
The Big Nine's third seed play Gonzaga Prep, which has a 20-2 record. The Big Nine's fourth seed plays Mead, 17-5.
Ike played Southridge on Saturday in a loser-out game for the fifth seed to the regional.
"It's a win, and we've qualified for regionals," Wa-Hi coach John Golden said about Friday's win. "That's what our aim was. It (the seed number) doesn't matter, you're going to have to play good teams anyway, whether it's Tuesday or Friday and Saturday.
"We're excited," Golden said. "We've gotten to part of where we wanted to go. And we get to play for another week.
"I'm proud of our guys and the way they persevered," he added. "It wasn't a thing of beauty. But that's OK."
Wa-Hi led 13-7 after the first period and 27-19 at halftime.
The Cadets took the lead twice in the third period, including at 36-34 with 3:08 on the clock.
Colton Arias, who led Blue Devil scorers with 17 points, scored 10 points in the third period, including four points in the final two minutes.
Wa-Hi escaped the third quarter with a 41-37 lead.
Wa-Hi's Gary Winston slammed down a dunk and converted a foul into a 3-point play with 4:37 left in the game for a seven-point, 50-43, Wa-Hi lead.
Back-to-back Ike 3-pointers cut the gap to 50-49 with 3:30 on the clock.
Brandon Porter sank a pair of free throws with 2:09 on the clock to put Wa-Hi ahead 52-49.
In the final two minutes, Michael Weisner hit two free throws, Winston drove for a layup and hit two from the line, while Ike scored one 3-pointer, for the 58-52 final margin.
Weisner scored 12 points and Winston added 11, along with three assists, for Wa-Hi.
Arias and Weisner tied for team-high rebounding honors with six each.
Arias also had a game-high four steals.
Ike's Ryan Watson led all scorers with 20 points, eight more than his season average.
Robert Bonser scored 15 and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds for Ike.
"It's a good win to get us to the regionals," Arias said. "We're happy to get it. We'll take what we get. We don't care if it's pretty or ugly, as long as it's a win.
"Brandon (Porter) came in and hit some clutch free throws," Arias said. "Everyone stepped up for this one. Jake Aguiar played great defense, as he has been doing all year. He stepped up when we needed it and got some steals for us."
Aguiar had two steals in the first half that led to Wa-Hi scores.
Matt Watson came off the bench, scored five points and battled for four key rebounds.
"This was a big win for us," Watson said. "We just had to come out and play hard. Lopez didn't play with an ankle injury, and they had to deal with that. We just have to come ready to play. There's still some things that we have to work on. Those free throws Porter made were big. We won by six, so making the free throws was important."
After shooting 50 percent from the floor in the second half, Wa-Hi shot 46.5 percent for the game.
Ike, missing the 19-points-per-game average of Lopez, shot 26 percent in the first half and 34 percent for the game from the floor.
Ike won the battle of the boards, 34-27.
Wa-Hi scored 25 points off of turnovers, and Ike scored 15 off of turnovers.
The game had six lead changes and six ties. Wa-Hi's biggest lead was eight points, 25-17, in the first half.
"The kids rose to the challenge and got it done. I'm happy for them," Golden said. "Colton Arias broke out scoring-wise. He really picked it up when we needed a boost.
"That's such a big key this time of year," Golden said. "He did the same thing last year for us. I was really happy with him. And Porter came off of the bench and hit two big free throws.
"These guys never know when they're going to be called on to contribute," he said. "So it was big, and I'm happy for these guys."
EISENHOWER (52) - Scott 0-3 0-0 0, Morioka 2-5 2-2 8, Mount 3-9 0-0 8, Watson 8-21 2-4 20, Urlacher 0-1 1-2 1, Zumwalt 0-0 0-0 0, Bonzer 4-10 6-9 15. Totals 17-48 11-17 52.
WA-HI (58) - Winston 4-13 3-4 11, Aguiar 2-4 0-0 5, Porter 0-0 2-2 2, Arias 5-8 6-6 17, Weisner 4-8 4-4 12, Maddess 0-0 0-0 0, James 1-4 0-0 2, Alden 2-3 0-1 4, Watson 2-3 1-3 5, Sumerlin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-43 16-20 58.
Ike 7 12 18 15 - 52
Wa-Hi 13 14 14 17 - 58
3-point goals - Eisen 7-21 (Scott 0-5, Morioka 2-3, Mount 2-7, Watson 2-5, Urlacher 0-1, Bonser 1-3), Wa-Hi 2-13 (Winston 0-5, Aguiar 1-3, Arias 1-2, Weisner 0-2, Alden 0-1). Total fouls - Eisen 16, Wa-Hi 16. Fouled out - Eisen (Watson), Wa-Hi (None). Technical fouls - (None). Rebounds - Eisen 34 (Watson 8, Bonser 8), Wa-Hi 27 (Weisner 6, Arias 6). Turnovers - Eisen 16 , Wa-Hi 14. Assists - Eisen 3 (n/a), Wa-Hi 8 (Winston 3). Steals - Eisenhower 4 (n/a), Wa-Hi 10 (Arias 4).