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By Andrew Christiansen

Cougars and Pirates in semis, Knights unstoppable at District Andrew Christiansen


Andrew Christiansen

TOUGH D: Lyle-Wishram’s Jonathan Von Ahn tries to shoot over Sunnyside Christian’s Drew Scheenstra during District aciton in Zillah.

It took awhile to have a close battle in the first two rounds of the District 5, 1B playoffs this weekend. The first four games were not even close with top seeded teams proving why they earned those seeds. On the girls side of the bracket, Sunnyside Christian defeated Bickleton 74-10 and Yakama Tribal took care of business against Lyle-Wishram 44-27. For the boys, Sunnyside Christian beat TLG 67-33 and Lyle-Wishram sent Bickleton to the loser bracket 61-32.

In spite of the lop-sided scores, the games were entertaining with good individual and teams performances. Top scorer for the weekend was Justin Mills, of Lyle-Wishram who put up 22 points against Bicketon in the opening round. In the closest action of the weekend, Bickleton’s boys squeezed by TLG 53-45 in a game that was well-played on both sides.

Bickleton 53 TLG 45

The Pirates and Mustang-Eagles played a barn-burner of a game at Zillah on Saturday. It was the third meeting of the two teams with a lot of questions about what to expect. Their first game on Jan. 12 ended in a triple overtime win for the Pirates. The second game was a blowout by Bickleton. But, TLG was riding a high after fighting their way into the playoffs with a 70-59 win over Yakama Tribal in Trout Lake on Tuesday.

Both teams lost the opening round games by similar scores; Bickleton losing 61-32 to Lyle-Wishram and TLG losing 67-33 to Sunnyside Christian. It was a disappointing loss by Bickleton who expected to be competitive against the Cougars. For TLG, the loss to the Knights was no surprise and they were able to execute their offense against heavy odds.

Both teams expected to win the loser out round, which made for a good game. Bickleton shook off the loss to the Cougars and did a much better job of getting their post player, Taylor Brown involved in the offense. It helped give balance to the Pirate offense and improved the effectiveness of their outside game. The Pirates literally powered past TLG. Freshman Nathan Powers didn’t have one of his best shooting nights, but he struck at important times and combined with Mitch Powers to score nearly half of Bickleton’s points with 16 for Nathan and 10 for Mitch. In addition, Justin Roberts hit a couple of three point shots as he and Peter Clinton scored seven each from the guard position.

TLG actually took more shots than Bickleton, but they shot just 30 percent while the Pirates hit just enough three point shots on 6-22 shooting to keep it even from the floor. The margin of victory actually came from the foul line where Bickleton had an 11-4 point edge. Brown had the only double-double for the game with 18 rebounds, more than the entire TLG front line. J.D. Cox scored 13 points for TLG and Alex King scored 11.

Bickleton’s girls joined the TLG boys as the first two teams eliminated from the playoffs. The Lady Pirates were thrilled to make it into the playoffs out-right when TLG lost to Yakama Tribal 67-32 in the final game of the season. But, it was a shaky season for the Pirates, marred from the outset with the loss of Amanda McBride to a knee injury in a December game.

Sunnyside Christian 74 Bickleton 10

Bickleton started the playoffs against Sunnyside Christian, one of the top teams in the state. A 20-5 first quarter and 30-2 second quarter destroyed any hope of giving the Knights even a bit of a challenge. Bickleton’s top scorers, Lindsay Brown and Jamie Venema combined for seven points as five of the seven players who played for Sunnyside Christian scored in double figures.

Lyle-Wishram 44 Bickleton 25

Day two should have been an even game for Bickleton, taking on Lyle-Wishram, a 44-27 loser to Yakama Tribal. During the regular season, the teams split with the Pirates winning by 11 points on Jan. 18. But, the die was cast in the first half with Bickleton failing to get shots to drop and the Lady Cougars surging to a 19-2 half-time lead.

Bickleton tried to mount a charge in the second half behind 17 points from Venema, but a pair of three-point shots by Lacy Carse kept the Pirates from gaining ground. Suzanne McConville had four steals for the Cougars and Ellie Smith came off the bench for a solid game with six points, five rebounds and four steals.

Coach Emily Barnhart said she was proud of the way her team stuck together through adversity. They will lose seniors Venema, McBride and Haley Goodnight, but in addition to the core underclassmen, eighth graders Hali O’Banion, McKayla Flitton and Katrina Cardenas saw valuable playoff level action and give the Pirates something to look forward to next year.

Sunnyside Christian 67 TLG 33

The Mustang-Eagles gave a good account of themselves against the number one seeded Sunnyside Christian Knights. Guards Alex King and Jackson Nakae scored 12 and 11 points, respectively, but the team had a lot of trouble getting an inside game going against the taller Knights. Brandon Broersma and Alex Brouwer each scored 16 points for the Knights while advancing to the winners’ bracket.

Sunnyside Christian 60 Lyle-Wishram 39

Saturday’s nightcap was a much anticipated game between Lyle-Wishram and Sunnyside Christian. In their last meeting, the Cougars missed the upset by a whisker and lost in overtime.

The first quarter didn’t disappoint with both teams showing great movement and stellar defense. But, the game got away in a flash during the second quarter. The teams had exchanged scoring through the first quarter, but the Cougars missed a cycle with a missed three-point shot. Then they missed another shot and had a turnover and suddenly the Knights were walking to the locker room with a 35-18 lead.

The second half was back to a more even game, but the Cougars were never in it after the second quarter. The Knights had a big game from Brant Bosma who scored 18 points. Lyle-Wishram had nine from Jonathan Von Ahn and Gabe Montoya.

Andrew Christiansen

IN THE FOREST: TLG’s Alex King takes it to the hoop against the big guys of Sunnyside Christian. Defending for the Knights is 6-7 Brandon Broersma, the league Player of the Year.

Tuesday was another elimination round with Lyle-Wishram girls versus Yakama Tribal and Lyle-Wishram boys versus Bickleton. The winner of those games earned a berth in the combined District 4 and 5 tournament. The seeding for that tournament will be decided following rematch games against Sunnyside Christian. Results were not available at press time.

The number one seed from the District 5 tournament is scheduled to play on Feb. 16 at Montesana High School, girls at 2 p.m., boys at 3:30 p.m. The runner-up in District 5 was slated to play on Feb. 9, but conflicts in schedules forced a move of the first round of the combined District 4/5 to next week. One thing that is known is the opponent for the girls’ runner up will be Wishkah Valley. The boys will play the winner of Wishkah Valley and North River, which was also scheduled to be played this past Tuesday.

Check the playoff story on this page for more details about the combined playoffs.


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