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Ford, Wellpinit fire on all cylinders

Qualifies for state behind center’s 25

Wellpinit’s drive to the state basketball tournament has been powered largely by center Brodie Ford, but the Redskins found a few more horses under the engine Friday night.

Facing a pesky Entiat team in a 1B Regional game at Mt. Spokane High School, Wellpinit finally sealed the deal with defense in the fourth quarter of a 64-48 win that sends the Redskins to next week’s state tournament at the Spokane Arena.

“We got our hands in the passing lanes and got some scoring in transition,” first-year coach Jacob Green said after the Redskins qualified for state for the first time since 2009.

The Redskins (16-9) also got the ball in the hands of the 6-foot-5 Ford, who responded with 25 points and nine rebounds in another complete-game effort that sends his team to state on a seven-game winning streak.

It wasn’t easy. Entiat (13-11), led 30-29 at halftime and closed to within three points at the end of the third quarter.

“We called time out and told our team to slow it down and run our game, and that’s when we got the ball rolling,” said Ford, who was 10 for 14 from the field and 5 of 6 at the line.

Leading 44-41 at the start of the fourth quarter, Wellpinit got a big field goal on Eugene Lasarte’s rebound and short jumper, then a three-point play on Ford’s layup that also drew a foul.

Wellpinit wing James Best followed with a crucial steal and layup to make it 50-41, then took a long pass from Lasarte for another bucket and the Redskins’ first double-digit lead of the game, 52-41, barely 2 minutes into the fourth quarter.

The lead stretched to as many as 18 before Entiat briefly cut it to eight points with 3 minutes left, but Wellpinit put the game away at the free-throw line.

“That’s when we really got the game rolling and got our legs and started playing some basketball,” Ford said.

The Redskins also got 18 points from Best, who was 6 for 12 from the field. Jason Holt added 10 more.

Ford, Best and Holt were a combined 20 for 32 from the field, offsetting a 1-for-9 effort from 3-point range.

Truong Tran led the Tigers with 18 points.