TACOMA – The feel-good story of the Central Valley boys basketball team will add another chapter.
For a second straight year, a Greater Spokane League team will have an opportunity to capture a State 4A championship.
Central Valley withstood a frenetic comeback by the Union Titans, including an 84-foot shot at the buzzer, as the Bears prevailed 52-51 Friday at the Tacoma Dome.
CV (22-3), which extended its school-record winning streak to 19, meets Davis of Yakima (22-2) this afternoon at 3 in the final.
The Bears are playing in their first championship game since 2006. CV’s lone state title came in 1967-68.
A high bank shot by sophomore Adam Chamberlain, coming off Gaven Deyarmin’s seventh assist, gave CV a 51-39 lead with 2:33 remaining.
It was a margin the Bears would need. Deyarmin, normally a solid free-throw shooter, made just 1 of 6 in the final 40 seconds. The one proved to be the difference.
Deyarmin’s final two free-throw misses came with one-half second left. Jordan Chatman got the last rebound and made a one-arm throw before the horn sounded that somehow went through the basket to make the final closer than it should have been.
“I couldn’t get a good feel for the ball,” Deyarmin said of his foul shot misses. “I lost a little bit of focus. The last two games I’ve been pretty right on. Toward the end I couldn’t find it. I’ll be in the gym (today) figuring out what I need to do.”
Deyarmin struggled from the field, making just 1 of 9 shots.
But it was his overall effort at the free-throw line (9 of 14) that helped him with a team-high 11 points.
“We executed down the stretch,” Deyarmin said. “We’re finally there (state-title game). We just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing. It’s going to be a good one.”
Union threw about four different full-court presses at CV and the Bears proved up to the challenge.
The Titans didn’t start fouling CV until well less than a minute remained, allowing at least 23 seconds to run off the clock.
“We were shooting good free throws there, but obviously you look at now we missed our last four,” CV coach Rick Sloan said. “Union did a good job. They were a handful. They’re a tough prep to get ready for. I’m just proud of our kids the way we executed and the way we were able to attack their press was a big key.”
Sloan said his team took a simple approach to the game.
“It was a matchup of simplicity,” Sloan said. “We just try to be solid against a complex team that has several different presses and several different half-court defenses. We were just trying to keep it simple and execute and not have the kids think too much.”
Chatman led Union with a game-high 29 points.
CV joins the CV girls team in the championship game. Garfield’s boys and girls won state titles in the same year twice – 1980 and 1987.