ELLENSBURG – The state championship hopes of nine Clarkston seniors came down to one final field-goal attempt against Grandview Saturday afternoon, but that shot caromed away harmlessly and Clarkston was eliminated from the boys State 2A tournament 57-55 at Nicholson Pavilion.
Brady Arnone’s 14-foot attempt inside the free-throw line came off a scramble following a missed free throw by Grandview’s Daniel Nielsen. The miss spoiled a valiant weekend for Arnone, who came off the bench to score 27 points – 12 on Saturday – in the two Clarkston losses.
Trey Sobotta led the Bantams with 13 points and Jordan Jones had 10. Tommy Sperry had 12 rebounds.
Clarkston’s season ends with a first loser-out loss in three games. For a program with four straight state tournament appearances since moving to 2A in 2007, an elimination loss was a bitter pill.
“We have nine seniors who have gone to state every year. We really had state championship hopes,” Bantams coach Justin Jones said. “Our hats are off to Grandview. They made it tough today.”
The Greyhounds did that in the first half with six 3-pointers, five consecutively. Grandview compounded that with a swarming defensive style that foiled a taller Clarkston squad’s attempts at entry passes.
“We’ve emphasized using our height all year,” Jones said.
With a significant height advantage at every spot, Clarkston watched two more Grandview 3-pointers open a 35-24 lead with 5:46 remaining in the third period. But Grandview began trying to bleed the clock down on each possession and the Bantams began chipping away.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Arnone and Sobotta cut the deficit to 45-42 early in the final period. Two more 3-pointers by Drew Adams and Jordan Jones from deep in opposite corners kept Clarkston close before Sobotta’s free throw with 29 seconds left cut the deficit to 54-53.
But three Greyhounds free throws in the final 27 seconds provided just enough edge to send Clarkston home.