Pullman came to West Valley through a blizzard Tuesday night for a Great Northern League basketball showdown and then pulled an inside job.
Led by Jaime Fertakis, the Greyhounds got the better of the young Eagles in the post, shooting to a big early lead, then finishing business in the final 4 minutes for a 71-65 victory.
It gave Pullman (15-1, 10-0) a sweep of their season series – in games that were similar in nature – to maintain a two-game lead in the GNL with four games left to play and three games ahead of the Eagles (10-5, 6-3).
“One of our goals was to match their physicality inside and did a pretty good job in the first half,” said WV coach Jamie Nilles. “In the second half they presented themselves.”
Actually Fertakis, a 6-foot-2 junior, came up huge in both halves. He scored nine first-quarter points as the Greyhounds build a 22-9 lead and finished the half with six rebounds.
In the fourth quarter he helped rally the visitors from a 54-49 deficit by pulling down six more rebounds, scoring three more baskets and two free throws with 19 seconds remaining for a six-point lead that put the game out of reach.
“The bus ride up was snowy and dangerous,” said Fertakis, “but the whole time in my heart I knew I had to play a good game.”
It didn’t help the Eagles – after they clawed back into the game on 13 for 17 free-throw shooting in the second quarter with Pullman point guards A.J. Sanford and A.J. Therrian sitting in foul trouble, and tied the score at 35 on a Murphy McIntyre basket a minute into the second half – that they became the target of the officiating.
WV was called for 11 fouls that put Pullman into the double bonus before the third quarter ended. The Greyhounds made barely 50 percent of 15 free throws, but it was enough to keep them close despite scoring just two baskets.
“It was nice we got to the free-throw line early in the second half,” Pullman coach Craig Brantner said, “which definitely played a major role in the outcome.”
Pullman shot 28 times from the line, making 19. Though WV took a 49-44 lead, with every basket – including 3-pointers by Jordan Lupfer-Graham, James Cahalan and McIntyre – a whistle blew.
Before Fertakis scored twice for a 55-54 lead with 5:21 remaining, Pullman had scored seven straight points from the line. WV took one more lead, on a three-point play by Lupfer-Graham, but was outscored 16-11 in the game’s final 4:17.
Fertakis finished with 20 points and a dozen rebounds and three others were in double figures.
“He picked it up down the stretch,” said Brantner, “and I thought our bench played well.”
WV’s Parker Flynn led all scorers with 23 points, including 15 in the first half, with some excellent drives to the hole. After making just 1 of 13 attempts in the first half, Lupfer-Graham had a big second half and finished with 20.
“All our guards played hard on the perimeter,” said Nilles. “Obviously did the same thing we did down (in Pullman). We spotted them too much in the first quarter and had to expend a lot of energy to get back in the game. We just didn’t have enough in the tank to finish them off.”
Elsewhere in the GNL, David Ramacus scored a game-high 28 points and Gardner Torrence added 18 points, nine assists and nine rebounds as Medical Lake routed visiting Riverside 69-48. The Cardinals (7-8, 3-6) outscored the Rams (7-9, 2-8) 13-3 in the third quarter to take an 18-point lead into the fourth.
•Luke Palmer scored 13 points and Travis Todd added 10 points and 12 rebounds as Odessa earned a spot in the championship game with a 46-40 victory over Curlew in a District 7 1B tournament game at Odessa. The Tigers (10-9) outscored the Cougars 12-6 in the second quarter to take a 21-15 lead into halftime. Brandon Gregory tallied a team-high 11 points for Curlew (15-7), which will play Almira/Coulee-Hartline (5-15) on Saturday 9 in a loser-out game at Riverside. … Elsewhere, Cusick defeated visiting Northport 64-44 to earn the remaining spot in the championship game. Spencer Shanholtzer scored a game-high 24 points and Tyler Edwards added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Panthers (16-5), who will play Odessa on Feb. 15 at Deer Park with the top seed to the State 1B tournament on the line. Tucker Guglielmino had 12 points for the Mustangs (8-14), who will play St. Michael’s in a loser-out game Saturday at Deer Park.
•Andrew Prohaska scored 17 points and Nate Clinton added 15 as Coeur d’Alene (16-2, 10-0) defeated Post Falls 70-49 in an Inland Empire League game in Coeur d’Alene. Malcolm Colbert led the Trojans (7-11, 5-5) with 13 points. … Elsewhere in the IEL, Joel Underdahl scored 17 points and Lakeland came alive in the second half to beat host Sandpoint 56-44. The Hawks (6-12, 2-9) outscored the Bulldogs (5-13, 1-10) 38-21 in the second half to erase a five-point halftime deficit.
•Beaux Martin scored 11 points to lead LaCrosse-Washtucna to a 51-28 win over visiting Colton at LaCrosse in both teams’ final Whitman County League game of the season. The Tigercats (11-9, 7-5) had already secured the fifth seed and will play the sixth-seeded Wildcats (5-13, 2-10) Thursday in Endicott in the first round of the league tournament. … Rosalia’s game at Garfield-Palouse was postponed because of weather conditions and will be played today at 6 p.m.
•Drew Wilkinson scored 24 points, including five 3-pointers, and Mike Martin added 20 as Clark Fork (10-3, 5-0) defeated Coeur d’Alene Charter 60-49 in a North Star League game in Clark Fork. Leo Francovich had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Panthers (6-10, 2-5).