WALLA WALLA — Gary Winston scored eight of Wa-Hi’s 12 points in the second overtime to pace the Blue Devils’ 77-75 Big Nine Conference Cascade Division boys basketball victory over Kamiakin here Friday.
The win avenged Wa-Hi’s 62-58 loss to the Braves in Kennewick and sent the Blue Devils to Eastmont on Saturday with a 7-1 division record and a 12-2 record overall.
Kamiakin dropped to 5-3 and 11-3.
In addition to Winston’s heroics down the stretch — he finished with a game-high 30 points, including 25 after halftime — highlight-reel Blue Devil performances came in bunches.
Wa-Hi coach John Golden said it well.
"These guys believe in themselves and in each other," Golden said. "Gary was unbelievable down the stretch. Michael (Weisner) had some great blocks, and he was so tough defensively, and he hit some big shots.
"Then (Seth) Alden hits that big 3. With ice in his veins, he hit’s the 3 to tie it (at the end of regulation play)," Golden continued. "Matt Watson came in and did just a great job off the bench. Just like a pinch hitter, he sat there all game and then he came in and contributed big time.
"That’s what these guys are all about with their contributions," Golden said. "I could go on and on. So many guys did so many great things."
Weisner finished the game with 19 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, and three dramatic blocked shots plus four steals and four assists.
Tyler Holle led the Braves with 23 points and Justin Pedley added 22 . Garrett Anderson led Kamiakin with six rebounds.
Kamiakin led 9-6 after a defense-dominated first quarter. The Braves retained the three-point lead at halftime, 22-19.
In the third quarter, Wa-Hi outscored Kamiakin 20-16 and led 39-38 going into the fourth period.
Weisner scored eight points and ripped down five rebounds to pace the third period.
Colton Arias chipped in five points, and Seth Alden popped a 3-pointer for a 38-36 Wa-Hi lead with 1:18 left in the third quarter. After Kamiakin’s Holle scored to tie the score, Weisner hit a free throw that closed out the period.
Winston scored 10 points in the fourth period, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Holle put Kamiakin ahead 57-54 with 29.7 on the clock, and Winston raced up court, looking for a potential game-tying shot.
When three Braves swarmed Winston on the left side of the key, he snapped a pass to Alden in the corner.
Alden’s 3-pointer rattled inside the lip of the rim before falling through and tying the score a 57-57 with 12 seconds on the clock to the foot-stomping roar of a partisan, standing-room only crowd.
"That shot was a big one," Alden said. "I was open in the corner. Coach had told me to go to the corner before, and so I just stuck to it. And they all focused on Gary, who is the main player. He gave me a nice assist, and I was able to hit the shot.
"It was a good game. It was a fun one," he added. "Everyone came out to support us, and I love it when it’s like that."
Wa-Hi defenders held off Kamiakin to send the game into overtime tied 57-57.
Each team scored eight point in the first four-minutes session, and Weisner canned two free throws to tie the game at 65-65 with 26 seconds to play. Kamiakin worked for a shot under the hoop with two ticks left, and Matt Watson muscled down the miss in a crowd and fed Weisner on the baseline.
Weisner, Wa-Hi’s quarterback in the fall, launched a shot that swished nothing but net through the hoop 70-plus feet away. As the crowed roared, however, the officials waved away the score. The buzzer had sounded before Weisner’s pass.
"Oh, man," Weisner said. "I threw it up there hoping it would go in, and it did. And I was looking at the official to see if it was good, but it wasn’t. Either way, it really got the crowd into it even more.
"Every day we practice shots like that," he added, smiling. "And it’s funny that I actually made one.
"It was a big win, and we had a great crowd here again tonight," Weisner said. "We were up and down the whole game. Matt Watson stepped up big for us in overtime, and Gary did what he always does."
"Weisner’s shot would have been cool if it had been good," Watson said. "It was a once-in-a-blue-moon shot."
In addition to Winston’s eight points in the second overtime, Watson pulled off three key rebounds and scored to give Wa-Hi a 71-68 lead with 2:09 on the clock.
A pair of Winston free throws put Wa-Hi up by five, 73-68.
Holle then twallied four points for Kamiakin, a 3-pointer and one-of-two free throws, narrowing the deficit to one point, 73-72.
Winston and Weisner each went to the line in the final 22 seconds, and each hit a pair of freebies for a 77-72 Wa-Hi lead with 5.6 seconds to play.
Kamiakin’s Riley Hayfield ended the scoring with a 24-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"Holy cow! That was fun," Golden said. "That’s a great high school game, and on two Friday’s in a row (including handing Richland its first loss last week, 51-49), and with two great crowds.
"The guys just kept battling and kept battling," he continued. "We couldn’t get over the hump and couldn’t get over the hump.
"Yet, in the first half I thought we defended real well," Golden said. "That’s what kept us in it because our shots weren’t falling.
"I told the guys at halftime that the shots would start falling and to just keep working on the ’D.’
"This is a great win," Golden said. "We got back at them for beating us at their place (62-58)."
KAMIAKIN (75) — Hayfield 1-2 0-0 3, Rada 3-5 2-2 9, Welch 0-0 0-0 0, Holle 7-13 6-7 23, Fletcher 3-8 4-5 10, Anderson 4-11 0-1 8, Hunt 0-1 0-0 0, Pedley 9-16 4-4 22. Totals 27-56 16-19 75.
WA-HI (77) — Winston 10-22 7-11 30, Aguiar 1-2 1-1 3, Porter 0-0 0-0 0, Arias 4-7 0-0 9, Weisner 6-10 6-7 19, Maddess 0-0 0-0 0, James 2-4 1-2 5, Alden 2-4 0-0 6, Watson 2-3 0-0 4, Sumerlin 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 27-52 16-23 77.
Kamiakin 9 13 16 19 8 10—75
Wa-Hi 6 13 20 18 8 12—77
3-point goals — Kamiakin 5-10 (Hayfield 1-1, Rada 1-3, Holle 3-4, Fletcher 0-1, Pedley 0-1), Wa-Hi (Winston 3-8, Aguiar 0-1, Arias 1-1, Weisner 1-4, James 0-1, Alden 2-3). Total fouls — Kamiakin 15, Wa-Hi 15. Fouled out — Kamiakin (Fletcher), Wa-Hi (James). Technical fouls — None. Rebounds — Kamiakin 28 (Anderson 6), Wa-Hi 33 (Weisner 11). Turnovers — Kamiakin 15, Wa-Hi 17. Assists — Kamiakin 7 (Fletcher 2, Pedley 2), Wa-Hi 15 (Winston 4, Weisner 4). Steals — Kamiakin 11 (Rada 4), Wa-Hi 8 (Weisner 4), Blocked shots — Kamiakin (None), Wa-Hi 5 (Weisner 3).