In a punch/counterpunch district championship game, Pullman managed the only flurry of the night, four unanswered baskets, and used it to stop West Valley 49-45 in the District 7 2A championship boys basketball game at Central Valley Friday.
As district champion, Pullman earns a first-round bye in next weekend’s regional crossover tournament, meaning its game Saturday will be considered a first-round state tournament game.
Clarkston, which capped an undefeated league season by stopping Cheney in the girls district title game, 47-35, also earns a first-round bye.
“That also means it’s a loser-out game,” Clarkston girls coach Scott Thompson said. “That makes getting an extra day to prepare that much more important.”
West Valley’s boys and Cheney’s girls will play loser-out games Friday at either Cheney High School or Eastern Washington University against Central Washington Athletic Conference opponents.
The district tournament wraps up today with games to determine the boys and girls No. 3 seeds. The Clarkston boys play Medical Lake at 3 p.m. at CV, while the West Valley girls play Pullman, also at CV, at 1.
Pullman 49, West Valley 45: The Greyhounds, regular-season GNL champions, and the No. 2 Eagles both entered the game with 19-2 records and the teams split their regular-season series, with each winning at home.
“I think every year for the last seven it seems to come down to us playing them … to move on,” Brantner said. “(West Valley) came in and threw a few new wrinkles at us and we definitely had a few surprises for them.”
Austin Drake started Pullman’s eight-point run by draining a jumper from just inside the 3-point arc at the buzzer to end the third period to trail the Eagles 37-36.
“I think that was the difference,” the coach said. “We got a lift from that to cut the lead to one point and we went out and grabbed the lead.”
GNL MVP Corey Langerfeld put the Greyhounds ahead 28 seconds into the final period and Ben Pavish added back-to-back baskets for a five-point lead, 44-39. Still, WV wouldn’t go away.
The Eagles got a 3-pointer from Tyler Stavnes off the bench and a driving layin by Brandon Davis to tie the game at 44-44 with a minute to play.
Pavish was 3 of 4 from the free throw line in the final minute and Drake and Langerfeld each added a free throw in the final 15 seconds to seal it.
Drake, who hit three clutch 3-pointers, led the Greyhounds with 12 points.
West Valley point guard Jordan Gassman scored a season-high 18 points to lead all scorers.
Clarkston 47, Cheney 35: Great Northern League MVP Jamie Weisner staked Clarkston to an early lead with nine points as the Bantams (21-1) took an 18-2 lead after 8 minutes of play.
“We got off to a good start,” Thompson said. “But we followed that up with probably the two worst quarters we’ve played all season in the second and third. We got it going again in the fourth to put it away.
“All year long these girls have done what they’ve needed to do to win.”
Weisner finished with 24 points to lead all scorers, throwing down eight points in the fourth quarter before leaving the game for good with 5:09 left.