The 1B boys basketball season comes down to this: a rubber match between two Bi-County League powers for the state championship.
Valley Christian’s Houdinis for the second straight day snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, and Almira/Coulee-Hartline won another battle of wills, sending both to today’s 7 p.m. title game in the Arena. They split two earlier meetings.
“I love that,” ACH coach Scott Isaak said of tonight’s matchup after his Warriors’ lock-down defense dismantled King’s Way Christian 52-31. “I think it will be a great game.”
Valley Christian coach Chad Kimberley said he too loved the impending matchup following the Panthers’ second hot start and harrowing escape in a 59-54 victory over Neah Bay.
“It’s a rewarding feeling knowing hard work pays off,” Kimberley said. “If not us winning, I’d love to see Scott and Derek (Isaak) win. It speaks highly of our league.”
Like Thursday, the Panthers (23-2) built a double-digit lead by halftime, leading 33-20, only to watch it disappear in a hurry.
They panicked against the press, turning the ball over 17 times in the second half, and found themselves down by six points, with nary a third-quarter field goal.
“Their press rattled us,” Kimberley said, “We did a horrendous job breaking it for the longest time. (Jordan Jarvis) rose to play his biggest game of the year. Those free throws were huge.”
After Valley Christian righted the ship in the fourth quarter on the shooting of Derek Blew, Jarvis hit the boards and made four free throws in the final 30 seconds to stem the Red Devils’ comeback bid.
“We seem to struggle at times,” Jarvis said. “I just wanted to win. It’s cool playing in the championship.”
ACH (21-6) matched patience with King’s Way, holding them scoreless for 7- and 6-minute stretches for a 16-8 first-half lead. In the second half, Colin Deyarmin hit three clutch 3-pointers, played great defense and had four assists as the Warriors pulled away, outscoring the Knights 37-23.
“He does a lot of things on the court,” said Scott Isaak. “Defensively, he’s our lockdown kid right now.”
Deyarmin credits it to advice given him by his older brother Gaven, who is playing in the State 4A tournament for Central Valley.
“My brother told me I have to be mentally tough to play sports,” Colin said.