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Class 1b District Basketball

Lyle/Wishram boys qualify for state hoops playoffs

Last Friday, Lyle/Wishram’s boys basketball team played the No. 2-ranked Class 1B team in the state for the Yakima Valley District’s top seed in the 2011 WIAA Hardwood Classic.

The Cougars (15-8) lost that game to defending state champion Sunnyside Christian, 67-30, in Mabton. For the Knights (21-2), it was their 10th district title in the last 13 years.

Tomorrow night Lyle/Wishram, the Yakima Valley District’s second seed, will be at Walla Walla High School to take on fifth-ranked Cusick (18-7) in a state tournament play-in game that tips off at 5:45.

It’ll be the Cougars first state tournament game since 1998.

The winner of Friday’s play-in game will meet top-rated Almira/Coulee-Hartline (23-0) or No. 3 Rosalia (21-1) on Saturday at 3 p.m., for a berth in the eight-team finals that get underway next Thursday, March 3, in Spokane.

Last Friday at Mabton High School, Lyle/Wishram played without ailing starters Henry Ma-tai and Trey Kitchens, and struggled against Sunnyside Christian, falling behind 16-2 at the end of one quarter (thanks to a 12-0 closing run by the Knights) and trailing 37-7 at halftime.

Freshman Jonathan VonAhn scored 10 points and sophomore Justin Mills had eight to lead the Cougars, who made just 9-of-31 shots from the field and finished with only five offensive rebounds among their 17 total rebounds.

The Knights, who collected 27 rebounds and 17 steals, and shot 27 for 45 from the field, had six players score at least eight points. Trevor Wagenaar led the way with 14, while four others tallied nine apiece.

In the second half of play, Christian continued to pull away.

The Knights scored the first six points of the third quarter to go up 43-7, then triggered the WIAA’s 40-point mercy rule when their lead hit 53-13. From that point on the clock ran continuously.

Sunnyside Christian’s girls beat Bickleton, 61-30, in the Yakima Valley District Class 1B championship game last Friday in Mab-ton.

With the win, the Knights (20-3) claimed the district’s lone berth in the 2011 Hardwood Classic. They need one win in regional play to advance to the eight-team finals set for March 3-5 in Spokane.

The Pirates finished their season at 14-8.

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