YAKIMA – As he walked back out to the playing floor at the SunDome at halftime of Wednesday’ first-round game against Sequim, Clarkston sophomore Trey Sobotta knew it was his time.
Sobotta, the Bantams’ sophomore long-distance shooter, had been the recipient of a stern lecture by coach Brendan Johnson.
Sobotta responded, hitting three consecutive 3-pointers in the space of two minutes, lifting the Bantams to a 67-47 win over Sequim in a State 2A boys basketball opener.
The Bantams (16-9) will play defending runner-up Burlington-Edison tonight in the late quarterfinal at 9.
The Bantams are in the quarterfinals for the second straight year. A win in that game would assure Clarkston of just its second trophy since 1950.
“I talked to (Sobotta) and Bryce James as hard as I’ve ever talked to a player during a game,” Johnson said afterward. “They’re just sophomores but they both stepped up for us in the second half and played well.
Sobotta’s 3-pointers allowed Clarkston to open a 42-27 lead midway through the third period. Sobotta, who had five points in the first half, had 11 in the second half and Clarkston, which last won a trophy when Gonzaga standout Josh Heytvelt was a senior in 2004, was on its way.
Clarkston struggled early with Dustin McConnell on the bench in foul trouble. With him in the game in the second half, the Bantams’ offense ran more efficiently. McConnell was the picture of efficiency with 12 points on perfect shooting (3 of 3 field goals, 4 of 4 free throws).
Squalicum 55, Pullman 39: Tournament favorite Squalicum had too much of too much and toppled the Greyhounds (17-8) in a morning opener.
The Greyhounds’ work will not get any easier today as they seek a fifth state tournament trophy in a row. They will play Mark Morris in today’s second loser-out game at 10:30 a.m.
Squalicum hit three 3-pointers and had a three-point play in the second period, exerting control of the tempo and flow of the close contest slowly and deliberately.
The Storm held Pullman to 34 percent shooting from the floor, allowed no 3-pointers and got nine points off 11 turnovers in the first half. Pullman committed just five fouls in the first half. Three of them were shooting fouls.
Pullman outrebounded the Storm 37-30, but the turnover and shooting percentage differential more than negated any effect that had.
“We felt like we did what we needed to defensively,” Pullman coach Craig Brantner said. “We had too many missed shots and turnovers to beat a team like that.”
Jaime Fertakis led Pullman with 14 points and 13 rebounds.