YAKIMA – Finally after two agonizing near-misses, the Pullman Greyhounds brought a state basketball championship trophy home Saturday night.
The Greyhounds outlasted Anacortes, 44-39, at the Yakima Valley SunDome to win the State 2A boys title.
Previously, Pullman’s best finishes were two second places.
Race Martin came up with two huge defensive plays in the final minute. The 6-foot-4 junior blocked a Seahawks layup with just under a minute left and then stole the ball in front of the Anacortes bench with 11 seconds left and the Greyhounds clinging to a 42-39 lead.
Anacortes, the No. 3 entry from District 1-2, had to get past defending champion Lynden in the semifinals to advance.
The Seahawks also had made two prior trips to the finals, also finishing second both times.
The teams struggled through an even, but sluggish first half. Both sides missed shots from all over, shooting a collective 12 of 46 from the floor. Sam D’Amelio kept the Seahawks in it with three 3-pointers while Pullman’s top scorer, Corey Langerveld, had eight points in the half despite hitting just 2 of 6 from the free-throw line.
A heads-up play by D’Amelio in the middle of third period appeared to give the Seahawks some breathing room.
In-bounding the ball under his own basket, he bounced the ball off the back of an unsuspecting Race Martin. D’Amelio grabbed it and laid it in, making it 34-26 with 1:56 left.
But Pullman scratched its way back in, pulling to within one point on the last of three straight baskets by Langerveld with 2:45 remaining.
Tanner Therrien then hit a 10-foot jumper and two free throws to give the Greyhounds a 39-36 lead with 2:09 left.
Langerveld, chosen the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, led Pullman with 20 points and nine rebounds.
Pullman won 27 straight games after losing its season opener.