Sometimes there isn’t any drama.
Kennewick came in with a 12-10 record, good for second place in the Mid-Columbia Conference. But a strength of schedule of .370 had them ranked No. 32 in boys 3A by the WIAA’s RPI.
Kennewick knocked off North Central in a district first-round game, then upset MCC regular season champion Hermiston (Oregon) 86-75 on Friday in a semifinal.
On Saturday at the Spokane Arena, the Lions ran out of steam and ran into a buzzsaw.
Tyson Degenhart finished with 18 points – all in the first half – and No. 2-ranked Mt. Spokane cruised to a 70-32 win in the District 8 3A title game, cementing a trip to the state tournament.
Jerry Twenge added 15 points and JT Smith finished with 12 for the Wildcats (21-1). Ayoni Benevides led the Lions with 14 points.
Kennewick will host the district second-place game on Monday.
It went to a running clock at the start of the fourth quarter when the lead reached 61-20.
“We just wanted to come out here and do what we couldn’t do last year and pull out a win in the district championship,” Degenhart said.
“It feels so good,” senior Tanner Brooks said. “We worked so hard for this and it was a total team effort.”
Degenhart, a sophomore, had 10 points in the first quarter as Mt. Spokane built a 19-8 lead after one. He added eight more in the second while Smith had 10 in the half.
The Wildcats led 40-12 at intermission and limited Kennewick to four points in the second quarter.
Coach David Wagenblast said the lack of drama didn’t make him appreciate what his team accomplished any less.
“You have to cherish times, especially in high school, with a special group like this,” he said. “Any championship has to be cherished.”
With a first-round bye and the snow, the Wildcats hadn’t played since Jan. 31.
“It was tough not being able to play for two and a half weeks so we were really ready to go,” Wagenblast said.
“Being off for so long, it was just nice to play again,” Brooks added.
“I feel like our team is really deep and in practice we were able to go against really good players,” Wagenblast said. “Where some teams might have come out with a lot of rust, I didn’t feel like that happened with our practices.”
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