Kiefel's paint play powers Watisburg-Prescott boys past DeSales

The 6-foot-5 center scores 20 points and blocks seven shots in Friday's victory on the Irish court.

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WALLA WALLA — Too much Ben Kiefel proved too much for the DeSales Irish to handle here Friday, as the Waitsburg-Prescott boys rode the back of their big man’s 20 points and seven blocks to a 60-45 Southeast District B Southern Division basketball victory.

Kiefel, a 6-foot-5 track and field high jumper, made all but one of his shots during a dominating paint performance.

"The game plan was to break the press and get the ball into me," Kiefel said.

The game plan worked well.

DeSales began the game with full-court pressure that forced four first-quarter W-P turnovers. After five minutes, DeSales led 7-4, but the lead was short lived. W-P got a handle on the press, going on an 8-2 run to end the quarter. Half of Waitsburg-Prescott’s 12 first-quarter points came via Kiefel.

DeSales continued to hold close for the first two-and-a-half minutes of the second period, before W-P’s punishing half-court offense extended the lead to nine at the midway break. Still, W-P coach T.J. Scott was not happy with his team’s first-half performance.

"We talked about effort at halftime," Scott said. "There were times in the first half, where we had breakaway layins and the other four guys would still be in our own key. You know, if he misses it or somebody comes and knocks it away, we’ve got no one there. That’s unacceptable. They came out and showed me they were ready to go in the second half. I was pretty happy."

Waitsburg-Prescott dominated the glass in the second half. Leading 12-10 in rebounds at halftime, W-P grabbed nearly twice as many boards in the second half and 11 more rebounds than the Irish could muster in the same span. W-P finished with a 35-22 advantage for the game.

The W-P rebounding surge yielded an 18-point lead by the 2:50 mark of the fourth quarter. W-P held on to win by 15.

"They’re tough inside — really tough," DeSales coach Mike Giusti said. "We should have tried to double more often and keep pressure on (Kiefel) more than we did. If we play them again, we will."

"Can we get the ball to (Kiefel) a couple more times, please?" W-P’s Scott complained. "He’s an animal inside, but at times he’s just content to stand there and not fight and call for the ball. If we get him the ball anywhere from block to block, it’s two points."

Victor Mata led the Irish in scoring with 13 points, the final eight coming on two 3-balls and a toe-on-the-line 2 with under two minutes to play that kept the score respectable.

W-P guard Wyatt Withers led all rebounders with 10.

"I think we had a lot of unforced turnovers," Giusti said. "We worked really hard to turn them over, then we’d go and hand it right back to them. Some of those stretches where we cut into their 10-point lead and got it down to six, they’d get two more quick ones, because we’d give the ball away."

The Irish, 1-4 in the division, 3-10 overall, hosted Asotin Saturday. W-P, 4-1 and 10-2, entertained Garfield-Palouse.

Both games were cross-division affairs.

WAITSBURG-PRESCOTT (60) — Cady 5 0-1 10, Zuger 0 0-0 0, Withers 3 2-3 8, Bartlow 3 2-4 8, Gerke 2 1-2 5, Wooderchak 1 1-2 3, Alexenko 0 0-0 0, Kiefel 10 0-0 20, Lehr 2 2-3 4, McDaniel 0 0-0 0, Brown 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 8-15 60.

DESALES (45) — Crowley 0 1-2 1, Richard 5 0-0 11, Williams 1 0-1 3, Gregg 3 2-4 8, Wujek 3 3-7 9, Wales 0 0-0 0, Mata 5 0-1 13. Totals 17 6-15 45.

Waitsburg-Prescott 12 17 17 14 — 60

DeSales 9 11 14 11 — 45

3-point goals — DeSales (Mata 3, Richard, Williams). Total fouls — W-P 18, DeSales 17. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — none. Rebounds — W-P 35 (Withers 10), DeSales 22 (Wujek 8). Turnovers — W-P 23, DeSales 20.

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