Hunter Ecklund leads La Center comeback at state tournament

La Center erupted for 23 fourth-quarter points to register a 61-51 come-from-behind victory over La Salle Wednesday at the Class 1A boys state basketball tournament at the SunDome in Yakima.

The victory advanced  the Wildcats to the quarterfinals, where they were scheduled to meet King’s at 3:45 p.m. Thursday. La Center, which improved its season record to 18-6), is the tournament’s sixth seed and King’s is seeded No. 4.

The Wildcats trailed by one point at 49-48 with 4:00 remaining in Wednesday’s game with LaSalle before they went on a 13-2 run to end the game. La Center’s Hunter Ecklund scored seven of his game-high 20 points in that final run to lead the Wildcats.

Ecklund’s 3-pointer gave La Center a four-point lead at 53-49 with 3:00 to play in the game. He then added a jump shot a minute later to extend the lead  to six at 55-49 and then with 25 seconds left to play he capped off six straight made free throws by the Warriors to seal the win.

Ecklund had 13 of his 20 points in the first half on 5-for-9 shooting, including a 3-for-5 effort from behind the 3-point line. He finished the game 7-for-14 from the field and 4-for-9 from 3-point range.

Senior Jake Wise had 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for La Center. Wise made eight of his 10 attempts at the free throw line. Avery Seter added 16 points, six assists and two steals for the Wildcats. Matt Baher contributed 11 points and 11 rebounds for La Center.

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