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Loss to Broncos ends Wolfpack season

CHENEY–The Dayton-Waitsburg Wolfpack Boys Basketball squad played well enough to win, but crucial three pointers and in-the-paint buckets just didn't fall DW's way as the Lind-Ritzville-Sprague-Washtucna-Harrington Broncos stayed alive in the 2B State Basketball Tournament with a 53-35 win here Saturday, February 25, and the Wolfpack finished its season with a 13-8 record.

"It felt like there was a lid on the basket," observed Head Coach Roy Ramirez. "The guys did a great job of getting open looks. The baskets just didn't fall for us."

With the two teams close in numbers and talent, coaches anticipated a good defensive matchup. "It was a strong defensive game," Ramirez said, "very physical. We knew it would be a tough game."

LRSW would score in spurts, but the Wolfpack would gnaw its way back, close the gap and stay in the hunt. The Broncos jetted to an 11-3 lead in the first quarter only to see DW come back and make it 14-10 at the end of the first, with a Monte Pettichord trey first thing in the second period cutting the score to 14-13.

DW took the lead early in the second but LRSW rallied and held a 24-21 lead at half time, followed by a sparse second half for the Wolfpack. Shot after shot caromed in and out and off the iron and the saving grace was the Broncos scored only nine points to DW's six in the third quarter.

Opening the fourth quarter, LRSW continued a scoring run with eight unanswered points, here the Wolfpack's inability to have the ball drop through the hoop allowing the Broncos to build a 14-point edge that forced DW to foul down the stretch.

"When they got that bigger lead, then we had to take some chances," Ramirez said. "To Ritzville's credit, they stepped up and made the free throws."

After senior Benny Bryan controlled the opening tipoff, the team's taut nerves showed as shot attempts banged out, but the defense managed to hold off the Broncos until Chase Galbreath drained a three to start off scoring at 6:46. Galbreath counted a free throw and another basket to give LRSW a 6-0 lead before Monte Pettichord broke the ice with DW's first point–a free throw at 4:35.

Spencer Hansen was hacked on a drive of the key and hit both gifters on DW's next possession, cutting the difference to 6-3. But Bronco Jayce Kelly, who scored a game-high 22, swished a three pointer, and teammate Brock Kinch scored to give them an 11-3 lead.

But Gage Holm breathed life into the team with a three pointer with 1:36 to play in the quarter. The defense held the Broncos and Ryland Kilts, fouled by Nick Labes, showed DW was not folding, and hit a pair of free throws to put the Wolfpack closer, 11-8. Bronco Kinch hit LRSW's third trey of the quarter with :36 on the clock, and Pettichord notched the final points of the quarter, driving the key for two points and a 14-10 score.

Pettichord kept it up, opening the second quarter with a trey, cutting the score to 14-13 Broncos. After several possession exchanges, Hansen tipped an Bronco pass away, raced up court with teammate Ryland Kilts two on one, Kilts dishing to Hansen for the bucket and a 15-14 lead.

DW got another stop and Pettichord drove in for a shot, was fouled and made both gifters for a 17-14 lead.

But the Broncos roared back with seven unanswered points in the next couple minutes of the game, retaking a 21-17 lead which they never relinquished.

Pettichord drove the key to the left for a field goal with 2:46 to play in the half, but Hayden Melcher swiped the ball, made the basket and the and-one on the foul credited to Bryan. Pettichord made another drive to the left for a bucket with :23 on the clock, shaving the difference to three, 24-21, at half time.

LRSW opened the second half with continued pressure. DW's baskets in the third were on a Hansen spin move through the key, a Hansen key drive and a beautifully executed alley oop pass from Hansen to Holm at 1:29 making the score 30-27 Broncos, but Jayce Kelly inflicted three more points of pain on DW in the final minute-something for a six-point margin after three quarters, 33-27.

Continuing its scoring spurt, LRSW's Dinkins, Jayce Kelly and Galbreath combined for an 11-0 run for a 41-27 lead with 4:58 to play, forcing the Wolfpack to take riskier moves to regain possession. Through the first minutes of the fourth quarter, Hansen picked up his fourth foul and sat out until 4:16.

Blake French made a nice bucket, in the right place at the right time after Kilts snagged the ball away from LRSW and hit a breaking French for two.

DW began subbing in players to press and foul as the clock went under three minutes, with the Broncos capitalizing on the situation, hitting baskets consistently, then counting eight straight from the foul line in the final minute and a half, finishing with a fourth-quarter explosion for the Broncos and a 53-35 score which belied the true closeness of the game.

LRSW 53, Dayton-Waitsburg 35 (2/25)

DW 10 11 6 8-35

LRSW 14 10 9 20-53

DW (35) Spencer Hansen 10, Gage Holm 5, Ryland Kilts 2, Monte Pettichord 16, Blake French 2. Free throws: 9/15-60%. FG(2): 10/25-40%. FG(3): 112/41-29%.

LRSW (53) Hayden Melcher 3, Jayce Kelly 22, Hunter Dinkins 6, Chase Galbreath 16, Brock Kinch 6. Free throws: 14/20-70%. FG(2): 12/29-41%. FG(3): 5/24-21%.