Bullpups run past Blue Devil boys

Wa-Hi watches a nine-point lead disappear late in the third quarter as Gonzaga Prep hands the Blue Devils a 70-62 regional defeat.

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SPOKANE - Wa-Hi took the game away from Gonzaga Prep for nearly three quarters here on Tuesday night.

When Gary Winston scored a driving layin with 3:22 on the third-period clock, Wa-Hi led by nine points, 42-33.

The Bullpups then closed out the period with a 12-0 run to lead 45-42.

Prep then outscored the Blue Devils 25-20 in the final quarter to claim a 70-62 Class 4A first-round Eastern Regional boys basketball victory.

The loss sends the 20-5 Blue Devils into a 7 p.m. loser-out game against Eisenhower (17-8) on Friday at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.

Wa-Hi needs a victory on Friday and a win on Saturday to earn a ticket to the state tournament next week in Tacoma.

"In the second half, we just gave up too many points," Wa-Hi coach John Golden said about Tuesday's loss. "We wanted to keep it in the 50s to have a shot at it.

"The third quarter really hurt us," Golden said. "They went on that run and we couldn't shut it off."

In the first half, Wa-Hi's defense controlled the Bullpups' main threat, Ryan Nicholas, limiting him to three shots from the floor and eight points.

That changed dramatically in the third quarter when the 6-foot-7 University of Portland recruit scored 10 points, including five in Prep's 12-0 run in the final three minutes of the period.

With their 45-42 lead going into the fourth period, and with Nicholas adding 13 points to his total for a game-high 31, the Bullpups held Wa-Hi at bay, 25-20.

The final minutes became a free-throw shooting contest, and the Blue Devils could gain no ground.

Nicholas, working in the paint, hit 10-of-11 shots from the floor and 11-of-13 from the free-throw line.

Winston led Wa-Hi with 21 points.

Michael Weisner scored 18 points and pulled off a team-high five rebounds and three steals.

Colton Arias scored 14 points, including 10 in the first half, and grabbed four rebounds.

Winston also had four rebounds and three assists.

"We had a little trouble scoring in the third quarter, and they got the ball inside a little too much," Golden said. "We did a good job of taking care of that in the first half.

"But in the second half they got some offensive boards. They got rolling, and we just gave up too many points the second half," he continued. "The last three minutes of the third quarter was when they made their run, and we weren't able to withstand it.

"We still hung in, and it was still reachable, but then it was more of the same in the fourth quarter," Golden said. "And of course they hit their free throws down the stretch.

"I'm proud of our guys," he said. "They came up here and battled them tough.

"We still have a way to get into this thing (and win a ticket to state)," he continued. "We've got to take care of business on Friday and then on Saturday we're playing for a trip.

"Our guys will bounce back," Golden said. "They've done that all year, and I expect us to be ready to go on Friday."

Gonzaga Prep, 21-2, faces Richland, 21-3, at 9 p.m. Friday with a ticket to state on the line.

Ike lost to Richland, 91-60, on Tuesday, and in the other games, Kamiakin beat University, 60-45, and Mead edged Davis, 60-55.

The other loser-out game Friday sends Davis (18-7) against University (11-13) at 9 p.m.

The other winners' bracket game features Kamiakin (19-5) against Mead (18-5) at 7 p.m.

If Wa-Hi defeats Ike on Friday, the Blue Devils play the loser of Friday's Mead-Kamiakin game at 1 p.m. on Saturday for a berth in next week's state tournament in Tacoma.

All regional games Friday and Saturday will be at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.

WA-HI (62) - Winston 7-19 4-5 21, Aguiar 1-3 3-4 5, Porter 1-1 0-0 2, Arias 6-9 0-0 14, Weisner 6-8 5-7 18, James 0-2 0-0 0, Alden 0-0 0-0 0, Watson 0-0 0-0 0, Sumerlin 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 22-44 12-16 62.

GONZAGA PREP (70) - Kelly 2-12 3-4 7, Bracey 3-5 7-9 15, Schmidlkofer 0-0 0-0 0, Sarabaugh 3-7 1-2 7, Nelson 3-3 0-0 6, Nicholas 10-11 11-13 31, Hopkins 1-3 2-2 4, Winkler 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-41 24-30 70.

Wa-Hi 20 9 13 20 - 62

Gonzaga Prep 11 10 24 25 - 70

3-point goals - Wa-Hi 6-15 (Winston 3-7, Aguiar 0-2, Arias 2-3, Weisner 1-2, James 0-1), GP 2-10 (Kelly 0-7, Bracey 2-3). Total fouls- Wa-Hi 21, GP 16. Fouled out- Wa-Hi (None), GP (Hopkins). Technical fouls-None. Rebounds- Wa-Hi 21 (Weisner 5), GP 24 (Nelson 6, Sarabaugh 6). Turnovers- Wa-Hi 12, GP 10. Assists- Wa-Hi 9 (Winston 3), GP 12 (Sarabaugh 4), Steals - Wa-Hi 8 (Weisner 3), GP 4 (Satabaugh 3).

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