It wasn’t the start W.F. West wanted but the Bearcats put their heads down and grinded out a 48-43 victory over visiting Shelton in the 2A District 4 quarterfinals on Tuesday.
The victory secured the Bearcats a spot in the district semifinals and ensured at least one more game at home this season.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for (Shelton),” W.F. West coach Chris White said. “They played really well. They do a really nice job with their high-ball screen. They execute it really nicely. They’re going to be a big-time handful next year.”
It was a sluggish start for both teams from the onset as W.F. West came out flat-footed and fought for every early bucket — and there weren’t many of them.
The Bearcats led just 11-8 after one quarter off sophomore Soren Dalan’s off-balance jumper at the buzzer that dropped in. From there, it was a back-and-forth affair with neither team going up by more than three until the third quarter.
Shelton was fouled just before the half and sank both free throws to hold a 24-23 advantage. One of the biggest changes in the second half was Bearcat senior Carter McCoy switching to guard Shelton’s 6-foot-4 senior Ty Thompson.
“Thompson’s just a little too big sometimes for some of our guys,” White said. “That was a nice adjustment.”
The Bearcats started to guard Shelton’s high-ball screen more effectively and rallied to take a 33-27 lead heading into the fourth. They then built up an eight-point lead, at 44-37, with two minutes to play which turned it into a free-throw game.
The Highclimbers made it a one possession game with 10.8 second to go as the Bearcats led by three. But junior Dirk Plakinger was fouled on the inbounds pass and sank both free throws to push the lead back to five and seal the victory.
Plakinger led the Bearcats with a team-high 13 points, while Whalen Deskins added nine, McCoy had eight, Soren Dalan seven and Brit Lusk pitched in six.
W.F. West (10-3) hosts the Greater St. Helen’s League’s No. 2 seed, Ridgefield, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday for a shot at the district championship game.
Black Hills jumped on Tumwater early and came away with a 58-53 victory in the 2A District 4 quarterfinals Tuesday.
The Wolves led 18-11 after one and held a three-point advantage at the break, before the T-Birds tied it up with just under two minutes to play off a two-point basket by Luke Brewer.
But three consecutive turnovers prevented the T-Birds from gaining their third victory of the season over the Wolves.
Justin Hicks scored 26 for the Wolves and Elyas Inman and Johnny Stalling both contributed 11 points. Brewer led the T-Birds with 21 points, Camden Oram added 11 and Adam Overbay 9.
Tumwater is eliminated and Black Hills advances to the semifinals.