Ferris came into the District 8 4A tournament as the No. 2 seed from the Greater Spokane League, ranked No. 8 in state by the WIAA RPI system.
On Wednesday they proved the part.
Reece VanLierop scored 27 points and the host Saxons breezed past Mid-Columbia Conference third-place Hanford 80-55 in a first-round matchup.
“I think we’ll give some teams ranked ahead of us a good run for their money,” VanLierop said of advancing. “I think we’re a pretty good team.”
Ferris (16-5) travels to face No. 3-ranked Richland (19-2) in a semifinal on Saturday, while Hanford (10-11) hosts Central Valley (11-10) in a loser-out. The Bombers outlasted the Bears 61-57 in a first-round game.
The Saxons got out to a quick 9-2 lead behind five points from McCoy Spink and led 16-7 after one.
VanLierop hit a 3 and Cole Omlin’s steal and fast-break dunk made it 26-10 midway through the second quarter. Another 3 by VanLierop made it a 20-point game and the Saxons led 43-20 at intermission.
VanLierop scored 13 points in the quarter and had 15 at the half.
He didn’t cool off after the break. Back-to-back 3s early in the third made it 54-22.
“Our team is doing great, getting good looks for everyone,” VanLierop added. “We were really clicking. When our offense is cooking everyone gets good looks and I was getting mine.”
Cole Omlin and Kellen Erickson had 12 points apiece and Spink finished with 11 for Ferris.
Connor Woodward led Hanford with 24.
Richland 61, Central Valley 57: Colten Northrop scored 25 points with seven 3-pointers and the Bombers outlasted the visiting Bears.
CV led midway through the third quarter looking for the upset but Northrop made three 3s spanning the quarter break to put Richland up nine.
Noah Sanders led CV with 14 points.
Gonzaga Prep 68, Walla Walla 49: Anton Watson scored 30 points and the No. 2-ranked Bullpups (19-2) topped the visiting Blue Devils (10-11).
Liam Lloyd added 12 points for G-Prep while Taylor Hamada paced WaHi with 23.
G-Prep hosts University in a semifinal on Saturday.
University 60, Chiawana 46: Logan Phillips and Marcus Lenker scored 17 points apiece and the visiting Titans (13-8) beat the Riverhawks (14-7).
Kobe Young had 16 points for Chiawana, which faces Wa-Hi in a loser-out Saturday.