ELLENSBURG – It took Northwest Christian three quarters to break away from the North Beach Hyaks on Saturday at Ellensburg High School. Once the Crusaders opened up some distance, they didn’t relent in a 58-49 2B boys regional win.
The teams played basically even for 22 minutes before a late third-period NWC (17-11) flurry opened up a seven-point lead.
Chris Hartis and Jeremiah Sander – who dominated in the paint all afternoon with a combined 31 points and 23 rebounds – each had key points during the surge.
A 3-pointer by Ryan Ricks – his only field goal of the contest – 22 seconds into the final period gave the Crusaders a 10-point lead and they never allowed the Hyaks to get closer than six the rest of the way.
Hartis finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds; Sander had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
The Crusaders advance to next week’s State 2B tournament at the Spokane Arena.
The opponent will be determined today during a random draw at WIAA headquarters.
The trip to state is the fourth straight and ninth in the past 10 seasons. NWC has played in its classification title game seven times since the 2003-2004 season.
“It was a big night for the seniors” coach Ray Ricks said afterwards referring to Hartis and Sander.
“The two big guys really did a good job boarding.”
The elder Ricks also praised point guard Jonathan Morris for his work running the offense and getting the Crusaders into sets that allowed them to exploit their height advantage in the paint.
“He really led us well today,” Ray Ricks said. “He got us into the tempo we wanted.”