YAKIMA – All season long West Valley coach Jay Humphries quietly lived with concerns about his team’s interior defense.
It was easy to, as the Eagles zipped through the regular season with a 17-3 record and reeled off five straight postseason wins.
But Thursday in the SunDome, Humphrey’s worst fears came true as Kingston’s surprising Buccaneers made the most of their first trip to the state tournament, abusing the Eagles in the paint en route to a 67-47 quarterfinal win in the boys State 2A basketball championship.
West Valley (22-4), which lost in the quarterfinals for the second straight year, will play Tumwater in the consolation round Friday at 10:30 am. A win there would give the Eagles a shot at the fourth-place trophy on Saturday.
Zane Ravenholt was the force inside for Kingston (20-7) on Thursday. The 6-foot-4 senior poured in 28 points – 16 in the first half on 5-of-8 field-goal shooting – and grabbed nine rebounds while post mate Sam Byers added 12 points and 13 rebounds. Eight of Byers’ points were in the first half.
“We knew that (inside play) was their strength and we didn’t respond very well,” Humphrey said. “Once they got on a roll, they had a lot of confidence and they made a lot of things happen.”
Among the things that happened was a 44-28 rebounding advantage for Kingston. Compounding the stellar inside play, Kingston hit 5 of 6 shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
The Buccaneers closed the first half on a 10-3 run, turning a 31-22 lead with 3:21 left into a 41-25 halftime advantage.
Kingston’s advantage swelled to as much as 20 points in the third period, but West Valley’s Brady Bagby led a brief resurgence starting the fourth period. Bagby, who led WV with 21 points, scored 10 straight points for the Eagles as they cut the deficit to 58-47 with 6:18 left.
“When we got it to 11, I thought we might be OK and I took a timeout to let us rest,” Humphrey said.”Six minutes is a lot of time, and with the shot clock you’re going to keep getting the ball back.”
But Kingston reeled off seven straight points to seal the outcome. WV did not score in the game’s final 6:18.