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Unbeaten Richland tops Ferris with long-range attack

There are many ways a team can pressure its opponent in a basketball game.

The state’s second-ranked 4A boys team, the Richland Bombers, does it with its offense.

“They’ve got a lot of weapons,” Ferris coach Don VanLierop said after the Bombers earned their spot in the state tournament with an 81-64 win over the host Saxons on Friday night.

Most of those weapons bomb away from the outside, no matter the situation.

Richland, at 22-0 one of only eight unbeaten Washington boys teams in all classifications, hit 13 of 24 3-pointers through three quarters.

The 13th was Drew McCullough’s buzzer-beating 22-footer in transition that gave the Bombers a 63-52 lead heading into the final 8 minutes.

It also stunted a Ferris rally that seconds before had cut a 14-point lead to eight.

It was McCullough’s only long-range shot, though he joined Richland’s other starters in double figures, scoring 12 points.

Guards Payton Radiff (a team-high 21 points) had five 3-pointers and Jacob DeVries (17) and Steven Beo (12) added three apiece.

Only Bombers 6-foot-7 post Nathan Streufert didn’t connect from outside the arc and he still finished with 16 points.

The Saxons’ defense disrupted Richland a bit, especially early in the fourth quarter.

That’s when Ferris (18-4 and ranked sixth in the 4A) turned two of the Bombers’ 13 total turnovers into seven Cody Benzel points – the senior finished with a game-high 23 – and cut the lead to 72-61 with 3:22 left.

But Richland scored the next eight points, six coming on leak-out layups off Ferris’ misses, and the Bombers were on to regionals.

“I liked our effort,” VanLierop said. “No problem with that. That was playoff-caliber effort.

“You’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game to beat them. We had periods of ‘A.’ But not enough.”

The Saxons’ 6-foot-9 senior post, Jensen Rye, worked inside for 14 points.

Ferris will host Gonzaga Prep at 7 tonight with a regional berth on the line. It will be the fourth meeting between the teams, with the Bullpups winning the first two.