YAKIMA – Tall and talented Foss shot 59 percent from the floor and used a stifling 1-3-1 zone Thursday to defeat Pullman 84-69 and knock the Greyhounds into the consolation bracket of the State 2A boys basketball tournament at the SunDome.
The Greyhounds (20-6) will face Anacortes at 10:30 a.m. Friday. A win there would guarantee Pullman a trophy for the first time since back-to-back titles in 2013-14.
Pullman played splendidly in the first half – hitting 20 of 22 free throws and 5 of 8 3-point shots – and led 43-39. But Foss switched from a man-to-man defense into the 1-3-1 zone and things got difficult for the Hounds.
“They did a good job with that little change to the 1-3-1,” Pullman coach Craig Brantner said. “We were doing a great of attacking them and getting to the basket, and when they went to the zone we had hard time getting the ball to the guy who was open.”
The zone did a much better job keeping tabs on Pullman’s three primary scorers, forcing the Greyhounds to look for players not normally a focus of the offense.
Jacob Wells, a sophomore who led Pullman with 23 points but was limited to just two of those in the second half. Likewise, Jared Anderson had 15 in the first half but only a pair after the intermission.
“We started taking some tougher shots and when we didn’t make them, that led to some fast breaks for them,” Brantner said.
Class 2A Player of the Year Berto Gittens was as good as expected, scoring 26 points and contributing seven rebounds and six assists for Foss.
“The shots that he got, he earned,” Brantner said. “They weren’t easy. I thought our kids did a good job getting on him.
Another problem for Pullman was the play of Foss guard Micah Pollard off the bench. The 5-foot-10 sophomore had 17 points and four assists in relief, contributing mightily to Foss’ 29-4 advantage in bench scoring.
The Falcons also hit 58 percent from beyond the 3-point line despite a strong defensive effort from Pullman.
“There’s not much you can do when they hit one and your kids is in his face,” Brantner said.
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