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State 2B boys: Lake Roosevelt puts defensive clamps on Liberty to advance to quarterfinals

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 27, 2019, 7:18 p.m.

Sam Wapato (24) of Lake Roosevelt and Mason Simmons (24) of Liberty during a first round game of the state 2B tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, at the Spokane Arena. The Lake Roosevelt Raiders beat the Liberty (Spangle) Lancers 41-37. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
Sam Wapato (24) of Lake Roosevelt and Mason Simmons (24) of Liberty during a first round game of the state 2B tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, at the Spokane Arena. The Lake Roosevelt Raiders beat the Liberty (Spangle) Lancers 41-37. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
By Dan Thompson For The Spokesman-Review

It was obvious early in Lake Roosevelt’s 41-37 victory over Liberty in a loser-out game Wednesday that the Raiders were outsized inside.

That became even more apparent when junior post Tyler Jordan sat late in the first quarter with a pair of fouls.

No matter. Eighth-seeded Lake Roosevelt found enough of a rhythm on offense, and its defense held ninth-seeded Liberty to its lowest point total of the year Wednesday at the Spokane Arena to advance to the State 2B quarterfinals.

“We came out man-to-man and realized that they were just spreading it too wide,” Raiders coach Jeremy Crollard said. “We had worked on our zone this week, so we felt like we were comfortable even though we didn’t play a lot of zone this year. But sometimes you have to make adjustments.”

The loss ended Liberty’s season at 16-10.

The Lancers never led by more than three points. They scored 15 points in the second half and shot 16 of 49 from the field.

“We were missing bunnies, and stuff like that, stuff that we haven’t done all year,” Liberty coach Mike Thacker said. “Defense can get you out of some bad jams, but we gotta be able to put the brown thing in the round thing.”

Lake Roosevelt (20-6), on the other hand, shot 17 of 39 from the field. With 6-foot-8 senior Jon Denny holding down the paint for the Lancers, the Raiders adapted.

“We knew that their big guy was pretty stationary,” Crollard said of Denny, who is committed to play football at Washington State next season. “So we figured our way to get by him was to go around him and use our speed. With their length, we weren’t going to be able to go over them, so I told the guys to try to get around, find the open passing lanes.”

Sophomore Sam Wapato scored a game-high 16 points, including 4 of 10 3-point attempts.

“I thought the shot selection was good,” said Raiders senior Trevor McCraigie, who added 11 points and three assists. “Sam Wapato had a lot of opportunities to hit a 3, and he did.”

McCraigie’s 3 midway through the fourth quarter gave Lake Roosevelt a 38-32 lead, its largest of the game.

“When both teams aren’t shooting very well,” Thacker said, “even a four- or five-point lead can sometimes be insurmountable.”

Liberty called timeout with 2:37 left, down 40-37, and from there had multiple possessions to close the gap, but couldn’t.

The Raiders grabbed a rebound with 15.4 seconds left and successfully inbounded the ball four straight times while the Lancers accumulated enough team fouls. They finally put the Raiders on the free-throw line with 6.3 seconds left, where Hunter Whitelaw sank 1 of 2 free throws.

That clinched the game for Lake Roosevelt, which plays No. 7 seed Life Christian Academy in the quarterfinals Thursday at 2 p.m.

Other quarterfinal matchups include: No. 6 Willapa Valley against No. 4 Brewster at 9 a.m., No. 2 Toledo versus No. 1 Kittitas, the defending champion, at 10:30; and No. 5 Toutle Lake taking on No. 3 St. George’s, with a scheduled tip at 12:15 p.m.

Willapa Valley 58, Oroville 44: Matt Pearson scored a game-high 25 points and the sixth-seeded Vikings (20-6) defeated the 11th-seeded Hornets (18-7). Anthony Jamison led Oroville with 16 points, while Spencer Martin added 10 points and 11 rebounds. Willapa Valley outrebounded Oroville 43-28.

Toledo 50, Asotin 37: Bryce Marcil scored 13 points and the second-seeded Indians (22-3) eliminated the 10th-seeded Panthers. Thomas Martin had 11 points with 11 rebounds for Asotin (17-9). Westin Wallace added nine points with 16 rebounds for the Indians.

Toutle Lake 49, Kalama 30: Mike Adams scored 13 points with 13 rebounds and the fifth-seeded Ducks (17-8) eliminated the 12th-seeded Chinooks (14-10). Max Ross led Kalama with 12 points. Toutle Lake shot 34 percent from the floor while holding Kalama to 23 percent.

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