WWVA boys step closer to playoffs

The Knights hand DeSales a 40-30 SE2B defeat Tuesday, and are battling with Tri-Cities Prep for the final seed to the district tournament.

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WWVA's Matthew Moore (10) cuts inside to drive the lane against DeSales on Tuesday. WWVA won, 40-30.

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DeSales' Sean Williams (left) attempts to fend off WWVA's Matthew Moore (right) as he dives across the floor in an attempt to steal the ball during the first half.

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Walla Walla Valley Academy's Max Failing (No. 3) soars over DeSales' Lucas Fazzari (No. 11) with a mistimed jump for a rebound as Fazzari comes down with the board during the first half of their game Tuesday night in College Place. The Knights won the game, 40-30, to remain in the hunt for a district tournament berth.

COLLEGE PLACE - Walla Walla Valley Academy closed out its Southeast 2B League boys basketball season with a 40-30 home win against DeSales, moving the Knights one step closer to a playoff berth.

DeSales (0-11, 5-13) has one more game when the Irish play at Dayton on Friday, but they can't make postseason play.

DeSales scored first in the low-scoring, turnover-laden game Tuesday, building a 6-0 lead in the first half.

But a few Irish turnovers, a 3-pointer by WWVA's Daniel Lomeland and a steal and layin by James Beck moved the Knights within one.

A foul on Beck sent him to the line, where he tied the game as the first quarter expired.

"We started out with the lead and we were doing what we were supposed to do," said DeSales coach Allyn Griffin. "We were executing really well."

But in the second quarter, the Irish fell apart and WWVA surged ahead.

Points of Matthew Moore, Lomeland, Zach Fry and Wagner put the Knights up 19-10 with less than two minutes in the half, while the Irish missed 11 of their first 13 shots.

The Knights closed the half with a 21-10 lead.

The Irish got on the board first in the second half, when Paul Elmenhurst hit on the sixth DeSales attempt. He grabbed the next board for another two points, but it wasn't enough to make up the second-quarter lapse. WWVA ended the third up 25-17.

"We had a lot of good looks, they just didn't drop," Griffin said.

The Irish came out in the fourth period for their biggest quarter of the game, posting 13 points and closing within 10 points when Sean Williams battled through traffic for two poins, but WWVA held on to their lead and posted 15 of their own to clinch the win.

"We played real solid," said WWVA coach Scott Wagner. "Our defense went out and did what we asked them to do."

James Beck led WWVA and the field with nine points.

Lomeland was clutch with big shots, Wagner said.

"I'd like to see more aggression and more confidence," Wagner said. "We need to play like we did for the second and fourth quarters all the time."

Tri-Cities Prep and WWVA (4-8 in league, 7-9 overall) are tied for the final playoff spot. The teams split their games earlier this season.

If Tri-Cities Prep wins against undefeated Waitsburg-Prescott Friday and Dayton Saturday in its final two league games, the Jaguars' season continues and WWVA's ends after a trip to the Walla Walla University Friendship Tournament this weekend.

DeSales' season ends after hosting Dayton in its final SE2B game on Friday.

Though disappointed with this year's results, Griffin is looking ahead.

"I believe we'll do very well in the years to come," Griffin said. "In the JV and C squads, we have some good athletes and some guys who are pretty talented. I'm excited for the future and spending the offseason and summer with these guys. This was my first year and I didn't know what I had or what to expect. ... They're great guys, wonderful young men and for the most part excellent students. We'll get better."

WWVA 40, DeSales 30

DESALES (30) - Mata 0-9 0-0 0, Williams 2-6 0-0 4, Gregg 0-1 0-0 0, Wales 1-4 0-0 2, Leahy 3-7 1-2 7, Cordeiro 0-5 3-4 2, Donnelly 0-1 0-0 0, Elmenhurst 3-7 0-1 7, Fazzari 2-7 1-3 5, Haen 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 12-49 5-12 30.

WWVA (40) - Moore 1-6 0-0 2, Fowler 1-3 0-0 2, Beck 3-9 3-4 9, Wagner 1-4 0-2 3, Lomeland 3-8 0-0 6, Failing 3-6 0-3 6, Fry 1-1 1-2 3, Hanson 2-3 2-4 7, Wittlake 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 16-42 9-18 40.

DeSales 6 4 7 13 - 30

WWVA 6 15 4 15 - 40

3-point goals - DeS 1 (Elmenhurst), WWVA 3 (Wagner, Hanson, Lomeland). Total fouls - DeS 18, WWVA 14. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - DeS 35, WWVA 36. Turnovers - DeS 16, WWVA 15.

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