SPOKANE - Waitsburg-Prescott outscored Brewster 34-23 in the second half here Friday in a Class 2B boys regional basketball game.
W-P used its second-half performance to break open a 29-27 game at the half and post a 63-50 win. The win earns W-P a trip to the Class 2B state quarterfinals beginning Thursday in Spokane.
"It was a big win," W-P coach T.J. Scott said. "We actually played one of the worst defensive halves in the first half that I've been a part of this year. The effort was a little down. I think it was a lot of nerves - it being the state tournament and having so much on the line. We came out and played tight and they outworked us.
"In the second half, the kids relaxed," Scott continued. "They worked hard and outrebounded them (Brewster). And we hit big shot after big shot."
Matt Hamilton, W-P's 6-foot-4 senior post, pounded the inside and scored W-P's first five points, but the Bears got it tied at 5-5 on a Josh Squires bucket with 3:36 left in the period.
W-P's Zach Bartlow started his 21-point night with two 3s, and TJ Hofer drove down the middle for a bucket and WP took a 13-9 lead to the second period.
Clay Divis scored 10 points in the second as Brewster cut the lead to 29-27 at intermission.
Hamilton finished the half with seven points and Bartlow, with five in the second quarter, had 11, including three treys, as the inside-outside tandem held off the Bears.
"We were trying to get the ball down low (to Hamilton)," W-P point guard Dustin Wooderchak said. "I do what I can and try to distribute the ball and get the open look. There were a bunch of mismatches as they were a shorter team than us, so we tried to get it down to our low guys."
"We were a little sluggish in the first half," Bartlow said. "They played a softer zone and I got a couple of open looks and capitalized."
Alex Urias got the Bears even at 29-29 25 seconds into the second half. Bartlow answered and W-P took the lead for good at 31-29 with 7:30 left in the third.
W-P outscored the Bears 17-13 in the third, and with the help of a Wooderchak drive to beat the buzzer, W-P upped the lead to 46-40 going to the fourth.
"Coach told us at halftime that we needed to come out and outwork them," Bartlow said. "He told us if we played harder than we did in the first half, that we would win."
"We've been more of a second-half team this year," Wooderchak said. "We got our intensity and played ball."
W-P exploded as Bartlow sandwiched two 3s around a trey from 6-4 Tyler Baxter, who came off the bench to score six points, grab three rebounds and block two shots for W-P, and the 9-0 run gave W-P command at 55-40 with 6:32 to play.
"I try to work the ball around to everyone," Wooderchak said. "When Zach is on, he's on, and we try to get him the ball."
"We got some nice open shots, one by our big man (Baxter)," Bartlow said of the opening fourth-quarter barrage. "That was nice. It got us rolling."
"I was thinking, I wanted to shoot a 3," Baxter said of his measured trey. "I never get to shoot them. They (the Bears) tend to leave the big guys alone (from beyond the arc). No faith in the big guys (from 3-point land)."
The Bears tried to answer as a Squires' trey got Brewster within 57-50 with 3:05 left.
W-P wasn't having any of that. Hofer converted a dish from Kris Cady, Hofer fed Hamilton and Hofer iced it with a bucket with 1:00 left to run the score to 63-50.
"Bartlow hit a couple of 3s, and Baxter hit a monster," Scott said of the fourth period. "It (the three treys) put the game out of reach. It was a great game."
W-P only had seven turnovers, Bartlow grabbed a game-high nine rebounds to go with his 21 points, Hamilton finished with 13 points and four blocked shots, and W-P improved to 21-1 on the year.
W-P plays in the final eight Thursday in the Spokane Arena at 2 p.m.
"We went to the final 16 last year and lost two," Scott said. "This puts us in the final eight. We're in elite company and it's exciting times. This team can compete with anybody, and I'm looking forward to the challenge."
"Last year was a nice experience," Bartlow said of the 2010 tournament. "It's a confidence booster to have been there before, and learn from our mistakes. This year we're coming in with a lot more confidence, and hopefully, we'll be ready to go."
Waitsburg-Prescott 63, Brewster 50
BREWSTER (50) - Divis 5-10 0-0 12, Squires 5-12 1-1 12, Smith 2-7 0-0 4, Urias 1-1 0-0 2, Driessen 3-8 0-0 6, Knapp 0-1 0-0 0, Taylor 5-17 0-0 12, Naranjo 0-0 0-0 0, Riggan 1-2 0-1 2. Totals 22-58 1-2 50.
WAITSBURG-PRESCOTT (63) - Hofer 4-7 0-0 8, Cady 3-13 0-0 6, Hernandez 0-0 1-2 1, Bartlow 8-18 0-2 21, Wooderchak 4-8 0-0 8, Brannock 0-0 0-0 0, Baxter 2-3 1-2 6, Hamilton 6-12 1-1 13. Totals 27-61 3-7 63.
Brewster 9 18 13 10 50
Waitsburg-Prescott 13 16 17 17 63
3-point goals - Brewster 5-13 (Divis 2-4, Squires 1-3, Knapp 0-1, Taylor 2-5), W-P 6-15 (Hofer 0-1, Cady 0-2, Bartlow 5-9, Wooderchak 0-2, Baxter 1-1). Total Fouls - Brewster 7, W-P 9. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - Brewster 34 (Taylor 7), WP 39 (Bartlow 9). Turnovers - Brewster 12, W-P 7. Assists - Brewster 13 (Taylor 5), W-P 10 (Cady 5).