The St. George’s Dragons watched the first day of the State 2B tournament and wondered: What’s with all the low scores?
Then they played Thursday and understood: The Spokane Arena is a big place.
“On the first day, the ball really doesn’t go in the hoop,” St. George’s senior Xander Werkman said.
Despite shooting 37 percent from the field, the third-seeded Dragons clamped down on defense late to close out a 53-44 win over the fifth-seeded Toutle Lake Ducks, advancing to the semifinals for the third year in a row.
“It kinda went like a lot of the other games that were first games for teams,” said Dragons coach Ryan Peplinski, whose team lost in the 2B championship game last season. “We’ve been on both sides of this where you come in and playing Wednesday, you have that one day, and that’s huge. … I think there’s something to that: getting your legs, getting in the environment.”
The Dragons held the Ducks – who beat Kalama 49-30 on Wednesday – to 32.1 percent shooting and used a 13-0 run in the first half to build a lead they didn’t relinquish. Toutle Lake cut the deficit to 46-43, but mustered just one point in the final 3 1/2 minutes.
Senior forward Mike Adams led the Ducks (17-9) with 21 points on 9-of-20 shooting.
Neither team shot better than 50 percent at the free-throw line. The Dragons finished 13 of 26, the Ducks 5 of 13.
But the Dragons (23-2) were relentless on defense. They had 15 steals, including seven by junior Dan Rigsby, who finished one steal shy of the State 2B single-game record.
“There were a couple possessions where we’d take them 25, 28 seconds into the shot clock,” Peplinski said. “Rigsby made a bunch of steals late that were huge.”
Senior Erik Farias hit 3 of 5 3-pointers and had 13 of his 17 points in the first half, when the Dragons’ offense was much more fluid and they built a 34-21 lead.
“The ball got sticky, and we stopped moving the ball like we usually do,” Farias said of the second half. “We were taking one-pass, two-pass shots instead of whipping it around.”
The Ducks outrebounded the Dragons 41-33 but had 18 turnovers – the Dragons had nine – and got points from just three players besides Adams.
Senior guard Logan Grabenhorst had 11 points and fouled out midway through the fourth quarter when Toutle Lake had pulled within four.
St. George’s will play Life Christian Academy in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Friday . Fourth-seeded Brewster will play No. 1 seed Kittitas, the two-time defending champion, in the first semifinal, at 3:45.
Brewster 57, Willapa Valley 49
Cade Gebbers scored 14 points and the fourth-seeded Bears (21-5) defeated the sixth-seeded Vikings (20-8) on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the 2B state tournament at the Spokane Arena. Matt Pearson led Willapa Valley with 18 points.
Kittitas 57, Toledo 50
Brock Ravet had 26 points and the top-seeded Coyotes (27-1) defeated the second-seeded Indians (22-5) on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the 2B state tournament at the Spokane Arena. Fano Arceo-Hansen led Toledo with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Kittitas was 15-for-19 from the free throw line.
Life Christian 64, Lake Roosevelt 44
Omari Maulana scored 18 points with 17 rebounds and the seventh-seeded Eagles (20-4) beat the eighth-seeded Raiders (20-7).
Trevor McCraigie led Lake Roosevelt with 16 points. Life Christian Academy had 10 assists, led by Derek Wallace Jr. with four. The Raiders had three assists.
Life Christian shot 46 percent from the floor, holding Lake Roosevelt to 28 percent.
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