WALLA WALLA - Zach Bartlow scored 24 points, with the help of 8-of-10 free-throw shooting, and scooped up four rebounds to go with two steals, to lead his team Waitsburg-Prescott squad onto a state tournament berth with a Southeast 2B District victory over Garfield-Palouse, 53-46, at George Ball Court on the Whitman College campus.
As a team, W-P had 10 steals and seven blocks. Guard Wyatt Withers was the leader in steals with three and post Ben Kiefel had a team-high three blocks.
"You talk and talk to your players everyday," W-P coach T.J. Scott said. "And you tell them that they can always do three things. Those three things are play defense, rebound and take care of the ball. We did that for most of tonight."
W-P outrebounded Gar-Pal, 25-12, led by Lucan Gerke's six.
Kiefel had five boards and Kris Cady four.
As a team, W-P hit 17-of-21 free throws in the game.
W-P used teamwork, free throws and drives to the hoop in the final two and a half minutes to get the victory.
Gar-Pal's Gavin Burt finished with 20 points on six 3-pointers - many from NBA distance - and a drive to the hoop.
"Gavin is quite a player, shooter and passer," Scott said. "Some of those long shots I'm still trying to figure how far away he was shooting them from. He is the best in the district - unstoppable - when he is going good, and he was that tonight.
"We played as a team to offset Burt and made some key free-throws down the stretch to win, and now we are going to state."
In the final 2:30, W-P made 6-of-9 free throws.
Bartlow scored six of W-P's 19 first-half points.
Burt had eight of Gar-Pal's 19 first-half points as the were deadlocked at 19-all at halftime.
W-P surged ahead in the final minute of the third period, keyed by a three-point play by Bartlow and a fastbreak bucket by Jace Zuger. Withers stole the ball and passed it ahead for the layup by Zuger.
After the third, W-P held a 33-28 lead.
The fourth quarter saw W-P take a lead by as many as eight before closing out the seven-point victory.
"It was a true team effort tonight," Scott said. "It took all of our guys making free throws at the end to win."
W-P advances to the district championship game against Liberty Christian at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The Patriots defeated Walla Walla Valley Academy Monday. The winner in the title game is top seed to state, the loser the second seed.
GARFIELD-PALOUSE (46) - Slocum 2 2-2 7, Griffin 1 0-0 2, Lange 3 1-2 8, Burt 7 0-0 20, Christopher 0 0-0 0, Roach 1 1-2 6, Ni. Cocking 0 0-0 0, Na. Cocking 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 3-8 46.
WAITSBURG-PRESCOTT (53) - Cady 3 3-4 9, Zuger 2 0-0 4, Withers 1 2-2 5, Bartlow 8 8-10 24, Gerke 0 2-2 2, Wooderchak 0 0-0 0, Kiefel 2 0-1 4, Lehr 2 1-2 5, McDaniel 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 17-21 53.
G-P 10 9 9 18 - 46
W-P 13 6 14 20 - 53
3-Point goals - G-P 10 (Slocum, Griffin, Lange, Burt 6, Roach), W-P (Withers). Total fouls - G-P 16, W-P 14. Fouled out - G-P (Christopher). Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - W-P 25 (Gerke 6), G-P 12 (Burt 3). Turnovers - G-P 20, W-P 17.