Even in basketball, there is not much better than a 2-for-1 deal.
It was Northwest Christian with the two Thursday night, as in two inside post players – including one, 6-foot-5 Kwinn Hanson, who was dominate in scoring 32 points. He and 6-6 Reuben Clark proved to be too much for Lake Roosevelt and its University of Idaho-bound big man Ty Egbert.
As a result, the defending State 2B boys champions took the first step toward their sixth title in seven years with a convincing 64-46 quarterfinal win over the Raiders at the Arena.
With it, Northwest Christian (25-1) moves on to today’s 9 p.m. semifinal against Adna (24-1), a 54-49 winner over Wahkiakum.
The earlier semifinal will pit Colfax (20-5), who handed NWC its only loss, against 21-4 Toutle Lake.
The 6-8 Egbert came into the game averaging 26.1 points in the Raiders’ last 17 games, all victories.
But Hanson dominated inside in the first half, reaching his season average in the first 16 minutes with 19 points. And the offensive onslaught continued despite Hanson being forced to sit much of the second half with foul trouble.
“Kwinn played like a man tonight,” NWC coach Ray Ricks said. “I’m so proud of him.”
Clark, who added 12 points, teamed with Hanson on the other end to limit Egbert’s touches – he had just five in the first half.
“It’s really nice having two big guys, they only have one,” Hanson said. “If I got the ball, he would get on me, then Reuben would be open and we could dish it to him, or vice versa.”
Clark also had the play of the game, rising up to flush Jeremiah Sander’s miss and give NWC a 43-24 lead late in the third. But guarding Egbert took its toll as he fouled out with 4:27 left and Hanson finished with four.
“He’s an amazing athlete, he’s going Division I,” Hanson said of Egbert. “But I’m a little bit smaller and I’m a little bit quicker than him and I tried to use that to my advantage to get around him.”
The Crusaders’ 2-3 zone limited Egbert to 16 points – tied with Keith Rosenbaum for team honors – and the Raiders to 27-percent first-half shooting, which helped NWC build a game-deciding 36-20 halftime lead.
So dominate was Hanson, that when he was on the bench with foul trouble in the third quarter Lake Roosevelt made a mini-run, cutting the NWC lead to 12.
When Hanson returned, he restored order with two quick inside buckets, helping the Crusaders take a 49-33 lead to the fourth quarter. Though Lake Roosevelt pulled within eight at one point, the Raiders could get no closer as Clark powered inside twice to kill their chances.
Toutle Lake, powered by Anthony Heinzman’s 19 points, improved to 21-4 with a relatively easy 62-51 win over Dayton.
The opening game was anything but easy for Colfax, but the Bulldogs held off La Conner 46-38.
Leading 39-36 with a little more than a minute left, Colfax’s Tyler Stevenson ran down a long rebound and outran the Braves’ defense for a layup that proved to be the backbreaker.
Adna eliminated Wahkiakum from title contention with its fourth head-to-head victory in as many chances this season.