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State basketball: Columbia River boys advance in Class 2A tournament

King’s Way Christian boys and La Center girls both eliminated with Friday losses in Class 1A tourney

The Columbia River boys are bringing some hardware home with them from the Class 2A state basketball tournament in Yakima.

The Chieftains defeated Renton 64-44 Friday at the Yakima Valley SunDome to advance to the final day of the state tournament, which assures them one of the top six places in the tournament. Columbia River will play Selah at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. A win would give the Chieftains fourth place in the tournament and a loss would mean they would finish sixth.

King’s Way Christian’s boys and La Center’s girls both suffered losses on Friday to be eliminated from the Class 1A tournament, also played at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

Here’s a look at Friday’s games:

Class 2A boys

Columbia River 64, Renton 44

For the second straight game, Columbia River’s stingy defense gave up just 44 points. On Thursday, the Chieftains lost to Lynden by 11 points but on Friday that defensive effort led to a 20-point victory.

Columbia River’s defense was at its best in the fourth quarter Friday when the Chieftains held Renton to 3-for-18 shooting (16.7 percent). Columbia River outscored Renton 28-14 in that final period to cruise to the victory.

Evan Dirksen led the Chieftains with 17 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the field. He also had six rebounds. Jacob Hjort continued his consistent play at the state tournament, finishing with 16 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Hjort made three of his six attempts from behind the 3-point line.

Evan Dirksen (15), shown here in a game earlier this season, scored 17 points to lead Columbia River to a 64-44 win over Renton Friday at the Class 2A state basketball tournament at the Yakima Valley SunDome. Photo by Mike Schultz
Evan Dirksen (15), shown here in a game earlier this season, scored 17 points to lead Columbia River to a 64-44 win over Renton Friday at the Class 2A state basketball tournament at the Yakima Valley SunDome. Photo by Mike Schultz

Nasseen Gutierrez added 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for Columbia River, which improved to 21-6 on the season.

Class 1A boys

Royal 71, King’s Way Christian 65

King’s Way Christian mounted a rally in the fourth quarter but the Knights’ effort fell a little short in a consolation bracket game Friday.

King’s Way outscored Royal 26-20 in the fourth quarter. Khalfani Cason’s 3-pointer with 33 seconds remaining in the game pulled the Knights to within four points at 69-65, but it was as close as King’s Way would get.

The Knights finished the season with a 15-12 overall record.

Cason continued to fill the stat sheet, leading King’s Way with 22 points. Cason also had nine rebounds, four assists and four steals. Teammate Brady Metz added 19 points, four assists and four steals for the Knights. Metz scored 11 points during the fourth quarter comeback effort.

Gage Koenders added 11 points for KIng’s Way Christian, which trailed by 12 points, at 51-39, heading into the final eight minutes of play.

The Knights forced Royal into committing 23 turnovers, which King’s Way converted into 32 points. The Knights were outrebounded 50-26 in the game.

Class 1A girls

Lakeside (9-Mile) 49, La Center 27

For the second consecutive game, La Center struggled to score in the fourth quarter and the result was the Wildcats’ elimination from the state tournament.

The Wildcats, who were outscored 23-3 in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s loss to Medical Lake, were outscored 19-1 in the final eight minutes of Friday’s loss to Lakeside (9-Mile).

La Center, which trailed by just one point at halftime (21-20) made just one of its 22 shots from the field in the second half Friday. The Wildcats were outscored 28-7 in the final two quarters.

Taylor Stephens scored eight points to lead La Center, which finished the season with a 22-4 overall record. Whitley Seter led the Wildcats with 10 rebounds.

La Center was once again playing without Molly Edwards, who was injured after scoring 22 points (seven made 3-pointers) in Wednesday’s win over Freeman. The Wildcats lost both games Edwards missed at the state tournament.

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About The Author

Ken Vance, Editor

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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