ELLENSBURG – The West Valley Eagles postseason boys basketball road show will spend a third consecutive weekend in Central Washington.
The Eagles toppled Clarkston 57-51 Friday night in the first round of the State 2A tournament at Nicholson Pavilion. The win completes a sweep of three games in Ellensburg and sets the stage for a trip to Yakima next weekend.
“Hey, we’re fans of this area now,” Eagles coach Jay Humphrey said.
West Valley advances to Thursday’s quarterfinals in the Yakima SunDome at 2 p.m. against either Franklin Pierce or Kingston. Those teams will play this afternoon in Stanwood with the winner advancing. The Eagles are in the quarterfinals for the second straight year.
Clarkston will play Central Washington regular-season champion Grandview at 3 p.m. today in a loser-out game. Grandview built a 17-point first half lead and held off determined Wapato 53-51.
West Valley’s offense seemed to hit its stride midway through the second period when leading scorer Brady Bagby came back after a spell on the bench. Bagby picked up two quick fouls and left just three minutes into the contest.
Bagby proceeded to hit two field goals and a pair of free throws as WV opened a 22-17 lead. More important, his return seemed to settle the Eagles.
It appeared as though Bagby – who led all scorers with 20 points – might spend more early time in the chairs after picking up his third foul just 8 seconds into the third period. But Humphrey elected to keep him in and it paid off as Bagby hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key and dished off a nifty assist to Jeno Martin.
Those plays came in the midst of a 9-2 stretch that opened a 36-27 lead for the Eagles. Clarkston closed with a 3-pointer and a bucket in the final 1:24 of the period to stay close.
Brady Arnone and Drew Adams connected on 3-pointers for Clarkston to open the fourth period, but a bench technical on Clarkston with just more than 5 minutes remaining resulted in a four-point play for the Eagles and a 45-40 lead that the Bantams couldn’t put a serious dent in.
Faulty free-throw shooting hurt the Bantams. They missed four in the final 4:55.