Deer Park snaps 55-year drought
YAKIMA – For the Deer Park Stags, 1955 is so ancient history.
Putting an emphatic end Wednesday to one of the longest state tournament dry spells in history, the Stags sprinted to a 37-20 lead midway through the second quarter at the SunDome and held on to beat a relentless Wapato team 64-58 at the boys State 2A basketball championship.
The Stags (16-7) will play Lynden (20-5) in the 5:30 p.m. quarterfinal.
The win snapped a 13-game state tournament losing streak that stretched back to 1955 when the Stags were playing in what is now known as Class 2B.
The Stags knew all about it.
“Oh, yeah, we talked about it,” Deer Park coach Ken Ryan said. “It is what it is. But, not now.”
After Deer Park’s opening salvo, the Wolves closed the first half on a 9-1 run. Wapato’s relentless pressure and up-tempo offense eventually wore Deer Park down in the third period, forging a tie at 42 with 3:04 remaining in the quarter.
But the Stags kept their composure – Ryan said he stressed that all day – and eventually pulled away again, holding the Wolves to just seven 3-point attempts in the second half.
Colton Peone led the Stags with 22 points while Zach Moore had 14.
Deer Park shot 56.5 percent from the floor in the opening half, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range.
West Valley 53, Hockinson 49: The Eagles rallied from seven points down to advance with a 17-7 fourth-period burst.
West Valley (16-8) will play 2008 champion Ephrata in the 7:30 p.m. quarterfinal.
The Eagles allowed Hockinson to play a slower tempo in the first half and it created problems.
“That tempo was in their favor,” said coach Jay Humphrey. “The tempo took away our game.”
It also limited the effectiveness of Brady Bagby, WV’s second-leading scorer, who was superb in transition in the second half.
Bagby scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half to lead three Eagles in double figures. Jake Buchholz added 12 and Matt Roth had 10.
Squalicum 94, Clarkston 64: The defending champion Storm made short work of the Bantams, racing to a 27-12 first-period lead and never losing control afterward.
Clarkston (16-7) will play Steilacoom in the 2 p.m. consolation game.
Dustin McConnell led the Bantams with 14 points. Mitch Carey had 11 and Chanse Brownell 10.