Lob and a layin lifts Wa-Hi boys to huge win

Ryan James' inbounds pass to Gary Winston leads to the winning bucket as the Blue Devils nip Richland,

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Wa-Hi's Gary Winston (10) jukes and evades Richland's Garrett Gallinger (left) and Mike Dunford (right) on his way to the hoop during the first half Friday night game at Wa-Hi.

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Defense from Michael Weisner (in white) shuts down Richland's Garrett Gallinger (left) and Calvin Douglas (right) as they go up for a rebound during the first half Friday night.

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WALLA WALLA — Trailing Richland 49-48 with 24 seconds left in the game, Wa-Hi coach John Golden called a full timeout.

Blue Devils gathered around Golden, who drew their attention to his clipboard.

As play resumed, Ryan James held the ball out of bounds at half court. Blue Devils and Bombers jostled for position near the top of the key.

Simultaneously, James arched a pass over the bunched players as Wa-Hi’s Gary Winston broke left for the hoop.

Winston caught the ball on his left-hand fingertips, sailed up and sank a layin for a 50-49 Wa-Hi lead.

And he drew a foul.

With 20 seconds to play, Winston sank the freebie for a 51-49 Wa-Hi lead.

Richland sped down court for a Dylan Radliff jumper that missed. Garrett Galanger rebounded and misfired, and Colton McCargar’s rebound putback also clunked away as the buzzer sounded.

With the 51-49 victory in the books, Blue Devil fans stormed the court in celebration.

The win gives the seventh-ranked Blue Devils a 4-1 record in the Big Nine Conference’s Cascade Divison and a 10-2 record on the season.

The loss drops the previously unbeaten and No. 3 state-ranked Bombers to 4-1 in the division and 10-1 overall.

Kamiakin, also 4-1 and 10-1, completed a three-way tie for first place in the Cascade Division after Friday’s games.

"It was a good game," Winston said. "It was a good crowd. We don’t always have so many fans, but when it’s like this I love it. It was real cool, and real fun to play. We knew how good Richland was and that it would be a tough game.

"That last play was all coach Golden and Ryan James," Winston added. "Coach Golden came up with the play. I didn’t think Ryan was going to throw it, but he did. And I just had to go get it.

"The defender hit my shoulder when I shot, and it went in," he continued.

"After that we were just too aggressive on defense, and we got lucky," Winston said. "One guy was open under the basket, but he missed. The other guy got the ball and he missed."

Winston finished with a game-high 29 points, including 20 points in the first half.

"That was a heck of a high school game right there," Golden said. "Richland is a darn good team, and I thought our guys went toe-to-toe with them. Richland has been on a roll and has been scoring a lot of points.

"It was a typical Wa-Hi-Richland game with a lot of defense, with us trying to outsmart one another. They did a great job, and I was really proud of the way our guys hung in there.

"And Gary just kept persevering when he’s got guys hanging all over him," Golden said. "Our other guys came in and defended real well. I was real happy with Ryan James’ defense. He helped a lot and did well. It was just a great team effort."

Richland scored first, but Winston countered with a baseline drive and crowd-rousing two-handed dunk.

Despite Winston’s nine first-quarter points, Richland led 13-12 at the buzzer.

Although Winston tallied 11 points in the second period, Richland held onto the one-point edge, 26-25, at halftime.

Wa-Hi, with 3-pointers by Winston and Jake Aguiar, outscored Richland 13-9 to pull ahead after three quarters, 38-35.

Wa-Hi extended its lead to six points, 47-41, when Michael Weisner hit a 3-pointer with 3:21 left to play.

"We were able to push the lead up a little bit when Mike hit’s the big 3 from the corner," Golden said.

Weisner scored all eight of his points in the second half.

"It was really good for us to come out and get a win with a big crowd out here against a good team like Richland," Weisner said. "Richland is really good at running their offense. They set good screens and do a lot of good things.

"We just had to focus on playing good defense and rebounding the ball. We knew if we did those two things, we’d do well," he said. "Richland was getting some good looks, so we had to mix it up, and we were trapping in the second half and it turned out good for us."

The Bombers’ Ratliff scored 13 of his team-high 19 points in the second half

Golden praised the Blue Devils’ execution on the final scoring play.

"That was something we drew up, and Ryan James made a heck of an inbounds pass to Gary. And who better to throw it to?" Golden said. "Gary made a great catch and went up, made the shot and drew the foul.

"We just executed," he added. "I’m real proud of the guys. It’s exciting, with a great community crowd. I’m just really excited for our guys."

The Blue Devils played Chiawana at Pasco on Saturday and will travel to Yakima Monday to complete their fourth game in six days against West Valley at the Martin Luther King Day tourney at the SunDome. Wa-Hi plays at 5 p.m.

RICHLAND (49) — Dunford 1-1 0-0 3, Radliff 4-9 8-9 19, McCarger 3-8 0-0 6, Hilty 0-1 0-0 0, Dunn 1-3 0-0 3, Gr. Gallinger 1-1 0-0 3, Ga. Gallinger 4-8 0-0 8, Douglas 3-12 1-2 7. Totals 17-43 10-15 49.

WA-HI (51) — Winston 12-21 3-4 29, Aguiar 1-1 0-0 3, Porter 0-0 0-0 0, Arias 1-4 3-4 5, Weisner 3-10 1-3 8, Maddess 0-2 0-0 0, James 2-6 0-0 4, Alden 0-2 0-0 0, Watson 0-0 0-0 -, Sumerlin 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 20-48 7-11 51.

Richland 13 13 9 14 — 59

Wa-Hi 12 13 13 13 — 61

3-point goals — Richland 5-16 (Dunford 1-1, Radliff 3-7, McCargar 0-3, Hilty 0-1, Dunn 1-3, Ga. Gallinger 0-1), Wa-Hi 4-15 (Winston 2-6, Aguiar 1-1, Arias 0-2, Weisner 1-5, Maddess 0-1); Total fouls — Richland 11 (None), Wa-Hi 15 (None); Fouled out — None; Technical fouls — None; Rebounds — Richland 32 (four with 5), Wa-Hi 25 (James 5, Alden 5); Turnovers — Richland 13, Wa-Hi 9; Assists — Richland 7 (Radliff 2, McCargar 2), Wa-Hi 9 (Alden 4); Steals — Richland 4 (Ga. Gallangar 2), Wa-Hi 6 (Weisner 2).

Our Twitter update from the game:

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