Willapa Valley’s title hopes dash in quarterfinal loss to Brewster

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2B State Tournament

Brewster 57, Willapa Valley 49

Willapa Valley’s hopes for a 2B state title were dashed on Thursday as the Vikings fell 57-49 to the Brewster Bears in the quarterfinal round of the 2B State Tournament Thursday at the Spokane Arena.

With both teams shooting cold in the first half, Willapa Valley (20-7 overall) held a 21-15 advantage at the halftime break, but No. 4 Brewster (20-5) opened the second half on a 7-0 run and took the lead after a big third quarter where the Bears outscored the Vikings by 15 points.

“The third quarter has been our Achilles’ Heel all year,” Willapa Valley head coach Jay Pearson said. “We played flat in the third.”

Facing an 18-point deficit midway through the fourth period, No. 6 Willapa Valley battled back using its half-court trap, cutting the Bears lead to five points after a Matt Pearson 3-pointer with 1:40 left in the game.

But the Vikings were forced to begin fouling and Brewster’s poorest free-throw shooter, junior Kade Kelpman, went 5-for-5 down the stretch thwart Willapa Valley’s upset attempt.

“We went to a half-court trap and the kids picked up the intensity” Coach Pearson said, adding a switch to a zone-press once the Bears crossed center court also sparked the late rally. “It would have been a spectacular comeback.”

Matt Pearson scored 18 points to lead the Vikings. Logan Walker added 17 points and junior forward Allen Deniston, who filled in for starter Cole Buchanan (illness), chipped in with 10 points for the Vikings.

“(Deniston) stepped in beautifully and did well against a much larger team,” Coach Pearson said.

With the loss, Willapa Valley is no longer in contention for a state title.

The Vikings will face Toledo, a team they lost to in the 2B District IV championship game last week, in a consolation game at 9 a.m. on Friday, with the winner playing in the state’s fourth/fifth-place game on Saturday.

Though they’d rather be playing in the state semifinals, the Vikings know their season isn’t over just yet.

“Our motivation is we get a second chance at Toledo and we’re playing basketball in March,” Coach Pearson said, noting the last time the Vikings were here in 2014, they lost two games and were bounced out. “It’s been a long time since we’ve been playing basketball in March.”

Willapa Valley 6 15 8 20 — 57

Brewster 5 10 23 19 — 57

Top Players: Willapa Valley — M. Pearson (18 pts.), Walker (17 pts.), Deniston (10 pts.), Chad Flemitis (7 reb.), Peter Hamilton (7 reb.); Brewster — Cade Jebbers (14 pts.), Corey Jarrell (12 pts.).

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2B State Tournament

Wahkiakum 44, South Bend 21

South Bend fared much better than they did their first go-around with the state’s top team, unfortunately for the Indians, their efforts still fell short.

South Bend held high-powered Wahkiakum to its second-lowest point total of the season, holding the Mules (24-1) to under 50 points for just the third time this season.

“We wanted to keep their high power offense down by strong defense and controlled patient offense. We accomplished both but could not score when we had open shots,” Indians head coach Gary Wilson said. “It is hard to do when we may pass up open shots early in the possession.”

South Bend (17-10) couldn’t capitalize often enough when they made defensive stops, scoring just four points in the first half, all of those coming in the second quarter.

After playing even with the Mules in the third quarter, Wahkiakum pulled away in the fourth to earn the victory and send South Bend to the consolation bracket.

“I wanted to stay close enough to make a run, but they got away from us,” Wilson said. “The goal was to hold Wahkiakum under 50 and the girls did that. We played hard but just had trouble on the offensive end.” There is no doubt we are running with the big dogs now.”

The Indians were led by point guard Hannah Byington, who scored 10 points for a South Bend team that shot 9-for-37 from the field.

Wahkiakum hit on 15-of-57 shots.

South Bend will face No. 5 Davenport at 12:15 p.m. on Friday, with the winner playing in Saturday’s fourth/fifth-place game.

South Bend 0 4 8 9 — 21

Wahkiakum 5 11 8 20 — 44

Top Players: South Bend — Byington (10 pts.), Zaira Medina (5 pts.), Karley Reidinger (4 pts., 7 reb.), Jessica Sanchez (2 pts., 7 reb., 5 asst., 4 stl.).