Sports

Warrior boys face long road to state

"LAKE CITY - Once the King's West High School boys basketball team realized it didn't have to be Neah Bay, it realized it had a chance to beat Neah Bay.Unfortunately, that realization came too late to save the Warriors from a 79-61 defeat by the Red Devils in a second-round game of the Tri-District Class B tournament at Nathan Hale High School.King's West, caught up early in the freewheeling style played by Neah Bay (15-1), fell behind and never quite caught up, even when they found their own game and mounted a strong rally in the third quarter.We just never got in sync on offense, said Warrior coach Rick Walker, whose team dropped into the Tri-District elimination bracket and a loser-out game with Grace Academy Monday. The Warriors won, advancing to a Tuesday game Tuesday night, but it was just the first of three must-win games they face if they want to get to the state B tournament at Spokane at month's end. No details from Monday's victory were available at press time.They're a good team, don't get me wrong, Walker said of the Red Devils, who drove from the northwest tip of the state to make Saturday's snow-delayed game, leaving home at 5 a.m. They moved the ball well, and their rebounding hurt us.We were out of sync. We had one real good burst of energy that got us back in the game, but we couldn't maintain it.The thing that got the Warriors out of sync was the first-half tempo, a run-first-and-think-later game that was dictated entirely by the Red Devils - a team with considerable skill and flash, and attitude to match. They ran off 10 unanswered points right out of the starting block, a gut-punch that King's West never really got over. Three different Devils also hit 3-point shots as they blazed out to a 23-12 first-quarter lead.King's West closed out the first half with six straight points to pull within 38-28, though, and kept the momentum after the break. When Brandin Jones stole the ball and went coast to coast for a layup 50 seconds in, they trailed by just four points.It stayed close the rest of the quarter, despite Jones having to sit down with four fouls. The Warriors rebounded better, executed their offense and found sophomore post Blake Anderson for close-in jumpers that Neah Bay had no answer for.The Devils didn't regain control until several minutes into the fourth quarter. Joe Chartraw, their stocky 6-foot-2 freshman center, hit a 3-pointer and two free throws to spark a 7-0 run, during which Jones was nicked for his fifth foul. Jon Gagliardoni's three-point play whittled the deficit back to nine points with 4 minutes, 41 seconds to play, but that was as close as the Warriors got.Without Brandin, we really don't have that floor leader, the guy that makes things happen, Walker said. That made it hard to get anything going down the stretch.King's West girls 77, Grace Academy 49: The Warriors finished off the first half with a 18-1 run to route Marysville's Grace Academy and advance to a Tri-District semifinal - and a state qualifier - Tuesday night against Shoreline Christian.King's West (15-4) led 41-23 by halftime as the Eagles could find no remedy for 6-foot-1 center Beth Grams, who led both teams with 19 points. Natasha Beals scored eight of her 14 in the third quarter, when the Warriors put the game away, and Marica Bulette and Lindsey Redfern chipped in with 14 and 12 points, respectively.Grams saved us offensively, coach Tom Oliver said. We didn't shoot as well as we have been, so she really picked up the slack.This win really takes the pressure off, he said of the win. If you lose this one, you have to win three in a row to get to state.It's a predicament the King's West boys know well. "

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