TUMWATER — W.F. West stole the momentum in the third quarter, fended off Ridgefield’s frenzied fourth-quarter comeback attempt and held on for a 48-44 win to claim a regional playoff bid Thursday at Tumwater High School.
“These guys, they just played their guts out,” W.F. West coach Chris White said. “I’m so proud of them. I’m just really ecstatic. I’m so happy for their grit and toughness and it feels awesome.”
The Bearcats needed a spark after trailing most of the first half, taking two-point deficits at the end of one quarter (12-10) and at the half (22-20). They got that spark in junior center Soren Dalan.
Dalan dominated the paint coming out of the locker room, scoring 10 of his game-high 20 points in the third quarter as the Bearcats reeled off an 18-7 run and created the cushion they needed.
“We work hard and it’s been an up and down season, but right now I feel like we’re on the up,” Dalan said. “Our team is also sharing the ball, which is wonderful.”
While Dalan was hauling in a game-high 18 rebounds and blocking five shots, senior guard Seth Hoff was providing the firepower from long range, knocking down two 3-pointers in the third quarter and another big one in the fourth to help the Bearcats stave off the Spudders down the stretch.
Ridgefield went into panic mode as the Bearcats went up by six (45-39) with 1:22 to play, but W.F. West held on and ended the game at the charity stripe to preserve the win.
White praised the defensive efforts of Charlie Mallonee and Gage Brumfield, who had his second game in a row with lockdown defense. He also commended Dirk Plakinger’s leadership, Evan Tornow’s toughness running the point and Hoff’s hot shooting.
“So happy to just kind of get healed up, polish everything up and try to get ready for next weekend,” White said. “They’ve really just grown up so much. I can’t be more proud of these guys.”
W.F. West’s regional matchup will be announced Sunday afternoon.