SPOKANE - Sizzle turned to fizzle for the Waitsburg-Prescott boys in the opening round of the Class 2B state tournament Wednesday at the Spokane Arena. W-P bolted to a 13-point first-quarter lead over Napavine, then faded in the fourth period to lose by eight, 44-36.
W-P's loss earned them a loser-out game at 10:30 a.m. today against Life Christian, while Napavine advanced to a second-round game at 5:30 p.m. today against Davenport, a 61-54 winner over Life Christian of Tacoma.
Trailing 4-2 early, Waitsburg-Prescott turned up the intensity for six steals and a 7-2 rebounding advantage over the Tigers during a six-minute, 18-3 run. W-P led 20-7 with a minute remaining in the first quarter. That's when Napavine switched to full-court pressure and man-to-man defense. The adjustment worked as Napavine held W-P to just 16 points for the rest of the game.
Meanwhile, the Tigers scored just enough down the stretch for the win.
"They started playing pressure man, and nobody wanted to take charge, nobody wanted to bring the ball down, nobody wanted to take shots. We just got tight," W-P coach T.J. Scott said. "We continued to play good defense - keeping them down. But we couldn't take care of the ball on our end. We still ran the offense and got some decent looks, but our shots stopped falling. Then we stopped working the glass.
"The reason we got so far ahead was purely because of rebounds and second chance points," Scott said.
"I know they (W-P) hadn't been to state in awhile and sometimes shooting in the Arena for teams like that can be tough," Napavine coach Rex Stanley said. "But boy, they came out hitting everything. We've been a team that all year we want to control tempo - keep the score down to the 50s or high 40s. When we gave up 20 points in the first quarter, it put a lot of pressure on our defense the rest of the way. But we responded.
"It's one of those games where we just kind of outlasted them and made some plays in the last couple minutes to steal it," Stanley said.
Waitsburg-Prescott turned the ball over twice in the last half-minute of the first quarter, leading directly to five straight Jordan Brown points - two foul shots and a trey with four seconds left. Napavine trailed 20-12 after the first period.
Brown continued the Tiger surge, hitting another free throw and banking in a 10-foot jumper off the top of the backboard, the rim, the glass and finally in. Colton Brown capped the 10-1 run with three more buckets from the charity stripe. W-P led 21-17.
Zach Bartlow grabbed the momentum back for W-P with four offensive boards and three putback baskets in the next 1:20 to bump the lead back to 10.
Two more Colton Brown foul shots and a last-second deuce by Jordan Hunt pulled the Tigers to within six, 27-21, at half.
"Bartlow was an animal on the glass," Scott said. "Then he gets in foul trouble and sits and sits and sits. We needed him out on the court the whole time."
Bartlow, W-P's leading scorer at half with 13 points (16 for the game), picked up two first-half fouls. He picked up a quick third and fourth personal before two-and-a-half minutes had expired in the third quarter, and went to the bench for nine minutes, not returning until midway through the fourth.
Scoring dropped in the third period. Napavine tallied six points to W-P's four as W-P led 31-27 entering the fourth.
Colton Brown opened the fourth quarter with a layup at 5:55 to close it to two, but Bartlow responded in his return to the game with two quick rebounds and a 3 at the 4:13 mark.
After that trey, Waitsburg-Prescott scored just once more. Napavine closed out the game on a 15-2 run.
The crucial play was a Trevor Brown layup and foul attempt that tied it, at the 3:11 mark, for the first time since the first quarter.
After Ben Kiefel missed on two foul shots at W-P's end, Napavine's Reece Stanley took an inside dish and power-up on consecutive plays from Micah Brown to build the Tiger lead to four, 38-34.
Bartlow fouled out after a missed 3-point attempt by James Lehr and Micah Brown buried two free throws to put Napavine up six at the 54-second mark. Kris Cady responded with a bucket just inside the foul stripe with 43 seconds remaining, but W-P was forced to foul and Napavine hit 4-of-6 foul shots down the stretch.
Foul trouble plagued W-P all game. Scott played his entire seven-man bench to compensate. Cady fouled out of the game along with Bartlow, and big men Kiefel and Chance McDaniel spent much of their time on the bench with four fouls.
"When I came out of the game in the third, I lost my momentum," Bartlow said. "I think the more foul trouble we got into the more momentum we lost. We started to fall apart. We couldn't take care of the ball."
"They say ‘they let ‘em play at state,' but I didn't see it," Scott said. "Napavine outshot us at the foul line, 35-13."
Napavine held W-P's inside scoring in check for most of the game. Kiefel, who averages double-digits in scoring, was held to six points, and back-up post McDaniel was limited to two.
"We posts need to work harder inside, but there were a lot of times when we had our guys sealed and our guards need to get the ball into us," McDaniel said. "The whole team needs to step it up, because we could have whupped them. We shouldn't be in this situation, in the losers bracket tomorrow."
"I think there was a stretch where we threw it away five times in a row," Scott said, "and you just don't get those possessions back. And when you have a six or eight-point lead like we did, and you toss it away, that's how you lose games.
"It's disappointing. We gave this one away," Scott said.
WAITSBURG-PRESCOTT (36) - Hernandez 0-0 0-1 0, Cady 3-6 0-1 6, Zuger 0-0 0-0 0, Withers 1-13 0-0 2, Bartlow 7-12 1-5 16, Gerke 1-8 0-0 3, Wooderchak 0-0 1-2 1, Alexenko 0-0 0-0 0, Kiefel 2-3 2-4 6, McDaniel 1-2 0-0 2, Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Lehr 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 15-49, 4-13 36.
NAPAVINE (44) - Keller 1-3 0-0 2, T. Stanley 0-0 1-2 1, C. Brown 0-7 10-14 10, Hunt 1-4 0-0 2, J. Brown 3-4 3-4 10, R. Stanley 3-11 2-8 8, M. Brown 3-12 3-6 9, L. Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Merriman 0-0 0-0 0, T. Brown 1-6 0-1 2. Totals 12-47 19-35 44.
Waitsburg-Prescott 20 7 4 5 - 36
Napavine 12 9 6 17 - 44
3-point goals - W-P 2-15 (Cady 0-1, Withers 0-2, Bartlow 1-2, Gerke 1-5, Kiefel 0-1, Lehr 0-4), Nap 1-7 (C. Brown 0-3, Hunt 0-1, J. Brown 1-2, M. Brown 0-1). Total fouls - W-P 24, Nap 15. Fouled out - W-P (Bartlow, Cady). Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - W-P 38 (Bartlow 8), Nap 40 (R. Stanley 11). Turnovers - W-P 19, Nap 13. Steals - W-P 10 (Cady 4), Nap 7 (R. Stanley 2). Assists - W-P 5 (Withers 3), Nap 4 (M. Brown 3).