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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eagles recoup, easily defeat Warriors

Doug Pacey Special to The Spokesman-Review

TACOMA – The West Valley Eagles didn’t sulk Friday, coming back after losing the previous night in the State 3A boys basketball state tournament quarterfinals.

No, the Eagles soared.

West Valley thumped the Clover Park Warriors 73-56 in a loser-out game at the Tacoma Dome, earning a spot in today’s fourth-place game, where the Eagles (22-4) will face Northwest District champion Sedro-Woolley (18-8) at 1:30 p.m.

“I was watching them during pregame and they were bouncing and moving,” Clover Park coach Mel Ninnis said of West Valley. “We weren’t and that got me worried.”

Ninnis’ instinct was right.

WV scored the first 16 points, getting 13 from junior forward Tyler Hobbs. At the end of the first quarter, it was 24-9 and the rout was on.

“Anyone on our team can step up and hit shots,” Hobbs said, “but I had the first open look and my teammates kept getting me the ball.”

Hobbs finished with a game-high 24 points, making all three of his 3-point attempts, and senior guard Rashad Toussaint scored a career-high 19. Junior center E.J. Richardson added 12.

Forward Zach Griffin led Clover Park (18-10) with 16 points.

While the Eagles were piling on the points, the Warriors were simply trying to hold on to the ball. Of Clover Park’s first nine possessions, it was whistled twice for 10-second violations, turned over the ball twice more and was called once for traveling.

West Valley scored 24 points off 17 Clover Park turnovers.

“I think what really cost us the game is their guards,” Ninnis said. “They really got us out of our game.

“Every time we wanted to go left, they pushed us right.”

Reserve guard Landon Page’s free throw with 3:05 left in the game gave West Valley a 29-point advantage at 68-39, its largest lead of the game.

Eagles coach Jamie Nilles was pleased with his team’s reaction to the loser-out game.

“Sixteen teams get to the state tournament and not all of them end up with a win,” he said. “We want to have that opportunity.”

The Eagles match up well with Sedro-Woolley, which beat Kennedy 71-61. The Cubs feature Northwest League MVP Adam Wardell, a 6-foot-2 guard who scored 25 points against Kennedy, and 6-3 guard Tygue Howland, who totaled 24.

“They look tough,” Hobbs said. “They’re disciplined and don’t make a lot of mistakes.

“It should be a good game.”

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