WAITSBURG — District 7 proved it was the better geographical area Saturday in the District 7/9 2B boys basketball tournament, sweeping both games.
District 9 No. 1 seed Walla Walla Valley pushed Northwest Christian to the limit before falling 59-54 and Waitsburg-Prescott ran into a buzz saw in Lind-Ritzville-Sprague, falling 78-31.
WWVA plays W-P Monday at 4:15 p.m. at Mt. Spokane High School in a loser out battle.
NORTHWEST CHRISTIAN 59, WWVA 54
This one was close from the get-go. The Knights grabbed a 7-5 lead on a Malcolm Shaw 3 with 4:10 left in the first. The Crusaders fought back and, following Chris Hartis’ bucket, took back the lead at 11-9 after one.
WWVA hit 7-of-12 in the second period as Dustin Rose hit 3-of-4 to finish the quarter with seven and lead the Knights on a 20-13 run. WWVA took a 29-24 lead to intermission.
Hartis connected for six of his 21 points in the third period and the Crusaders clawed back to go to the fourth even at 42-42.
Cameron Fitzgerald got WWVA off to a 44-42 lead with a bucket a minute into the fourth. The Crusaders turned up the defense and forced five Knight turnovers in the midst of an 8-0 run to take a 52-44 lead following a Hartis bucket mid-way through the fourth.
“The beginning of the fourth hurt us a little bit,” WWVA coach Scott Wagner said. “We made a couple of mistakes and you can’t do that in a game like this.”
Rose hit back-to-back treys to get the Knights back within 53-50 with 2:06 left. Matt Coseart converted a bucket following a Hartis bucket to once again cut the lead to three at 55-52 with a minute left.
Fitzgerald connected with :22 left to narrow the margin to 55-54, but Jonathan Morris hit four consecutive free throws as the Crusaders hung on for the 59-54 win.
Rose with 16 and Fitzgerald with 11 led the Knights.
“We come out of this with a lot of confidence,” Wagner added. “We’re looking forward to going up to Spokane Monday and seeing what we can do.”
LIND-RITZVILLE-SPRAGUE 78, WAITSBURG-PRESCOTT 32
W-P was missing some pieces as Nate Bartlow was home ill and Chris Campbell was unavailable. And then there were the defending Class 2B football state championship caliber athletes from L-R-S,
W-P survived the first period down only 14-8, but the Broncos went to the 3 balls in the second and scored 26 points to take command at 40-14 at intermission.
“They did everything right,” W-P coach Tavis Crittenden said. “I don’t know if the game got us or what. We couldn’t make a shot. I’ve never seen us shoot like that.”
It didn’t get any better for W-P on this night as the Broncos stretched the lead to 55-25 after three and coasted home.
Connor O’Neill led all scorers with 21 for the Broncos.
Corey Brownlee had 11 to lead W-P.
“We got in foul trouble early with Chance (Leroue) and Corey,” Crittenden added. “We didn’t get any rebounds after that. That’s when the game started to fall apart for us. They outhustled us the rest of the way. It’s a tough way to start the playoffs.”
W-P will try to stay alive Monday in a loser-out battle with Southeast 2B foe WWVA.
“I don’t think we are as bad as that score, but they are a great team,” Crittenden continued. “It’ll be interesting to see how we respond Monday.”
NORTHWEST CHRISTIAN 59, WWVA 54
NWC (59) — Morris 6, Ricks 10, N.Sander 8, Olds 10, J. Sander 4, Hartis 21.
WWVA (54) — Shaw 6, Cosaert 6, Fitzgerald 11, Hutton 8, Rose 16, King 0, Jennings 7.
NWC 11 13 18 17 - 59
WWVA 9 20 13 12 - 54
L-R-S 78, W-P 32
W-P (32) — Dunn 4, Gradwohl 4, Larsen 2, Pearson 1,Dozier 3, Acevedo 3, Alexenko 2, Lanning 0,Leroue 2, Brownlee 11.
L-R-S (78) — Becker 2, O’Neill 21, Saetre 8, Hartz 3, Smith 1, Ruzicka 10, Canaday 9, Whitmore 9, Roettger 9, Frederick 7.
W-P 8 6 11 7 — 32
L-R-S 14 26 25 13 — 78