YAKIMA – At 5-foot-6 Pullman’s David Ungerer was easily the shortest player on the court during the Greyhounds’ State 2A boys basketball quarterfinal on Thursday against Burlington-Edison.
But when the Greyhounds needed a spark, Ungerer stood perhaps the tallest.
The tenacious senior collected eight points and seven rebounds in the second half as Pullman broke open a close game with a 34-point second half and rolled into the semifinals, dispatching the Tigers 56-36 at the SunDome.
Pullman (25-1) will battle Renton at 3:45 this afternoon. A win there would give it a shot at its first state championship.
Ungerer finished with 10 points – one of four Pullman players in double figures – and a team-high eight rebounds.
Five Pullman players scored in double figures.
The total resulted in large part from a change in Ungerer’s defensive deployment by coach Craig Brantner. A few games ago, the coach asked Ungerer to stop breaking out for a long outlet pass and instead wait for the long rebound.
That was a big factor in the Greyhounds outscoring B-E 34-17 in the second half. The Pullman defense held the Tigers to just three points in the fourth period.
The decisive sequence came midway through the third period when AJ Miles hit back-to-back 3-pointers, giving Pullman a 37-27 lead. The Tigers were never closer than eight the rest of the way.
Pullman led 22-19 at halftime despite being outrebounded 22-15 by the taller Tigers. Much of that rebounding advantage was the work of the Tigers’ 6-foot-7 Austin Von Herbulis, who had seven rebounds in the half.
The Greyhounds had the lead at halftime despite a strong performance by B-E guard Issak Davies. Davies had 11 of the Tigers’ points including seven of nine in a 3-minute stretch where B-E turned an 11-2 deficit into a tie.
Pullman’s defense – with Ungerer stepping up big with three steals – put the squelch on Davies in the second half, holding him to just one field goal.
Mark Morris 57, West Valley 42: The top-ranked Monarchs (23-2) shrugged off the persistent Eagles in the second half of the quarterfinal.
The Eagles (19-7) will face Burlington-Edison at 2 p.m. today in the consolation bracket.
WV managed to keep the high-scoring Monarchs – they scored more than 70 points 14 times this season – in range during the first half.
But Breanna DuBois and Emmylee Holt-Giles combined for 11 Monarch points in the first 6 minutes of the third period and suddenly the Eagles trailed 43-27.