ELLENSBURG – Pullman knew it could count on Corey Langerveld to come through offensively in Saturday’s State 2A regional boys basketball game at Central Washington University’s Nicholson Pavilion.
And Langerveld came through in a big way, scoring 28 points and grabbing nine rebounds as the Greyhounds ousted Ellensburg, 62-56, to advance to the Hardwood Classic at the Yakima Valley SunDome this week.
But the play of point guard David Ungerer was every bit as big for Pullman.
The 5-foot-6 junior grabbed seven rebounds and handled Ellensburg’s relentless defense for 31 minutes with just one turnover. He also scored nine points – seven in a decisive stretch in the third period when Pullman was trying to not lose control of the contest.
That combination is a big reason Pullman will finish its season where it began – in the SunDome. The Hounds opened the season there against Ellensburg – absorbing their only loss.
Pullman coach Craig Brantner – who played on Garfield-Palouse’s 27-0 state championship team in 1990 – takes his team into Yakima on a 24-game win streak.
The Greyhounds will play their first game in the Classic on Thursday. Their opponent will be determined today during the WIAA draw in Renton.
Ungerer said he wasn’t trying to do anything special. But the Bulldogs left him open and he made them pay.
“I wasn’t really trying to take over or anything,” he said with a laugh. “I was really just trying to play my game.”
The Greyhounds had to weather a strong third-period effort by Ellensburg’s Junior Ledgard for the fourth period to matter. Ledgard took advantage of some defensive matchups Brantner would have preferred to avoid, scoring 14 of Ellensburg’s 16 points in the period.
“You have to give their coach credit, he did a great job of finding where we were short on defense,” Brantner said. “When we went small because of fouls, they hurt us.”
Ledgard’s efforts were the reason Ellensburg was able to take a 37-33 lead in the period.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Ungerer and AJ Miles – who hit from deep on the right wing – brought Pullman back to within one and Ungerer’s 16-footer from the right wing with a second left put the Grehounds back in front for good.
Langerveld started the contest in similar fashion, scoring the Hounds’ first 12 points. He also closed strong, scoring seven straight points in the middle of the final period as Pullman extended a one-point third-period lead into a nine-point margin with 2:20 to play.