Friday’s State 2A Boys Basketball: W.F. West Continues Run in State Tournament With Upset Of Foss
TITLE: Bearcats Face Lynden on Saturday at 3 p.m. for State Championship
By Matt Baide
YAKIMA — W.F. West’s Cinderella run will come to a conclusion in the state championship game.
The Bearcats’ hot streak continued here on Friday as they led from start to finish to beat defending champion Foss, 53-50, in the State 2A tournament semifinals.
The Bearcats play Lynden on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the SunDome with the gold ball trophy on the line.
“It’s so crazy, because I’ve been through a lot of bro hugs these last couple of nights and I don’t have very many of those left in me,” W.F. West coach Chris White said. “Tonight, I’m kind of just caught up in the moment, so it’s really special.”
Brandon White led the Bearcats with 18 points and seven rebounds. Bailey Cooper recorded 14 points and Jordan Thomas added 10 points.
“Surreal. It’s just been an amazing season with these guys. Words can’t even describe it,” Thomas said. “I knew it was going to be a tough road. It’s just amazing, we believe but there was still doubt. Every game we just took it game by game; every possession mattered. Each game was close.”
Foss’ Demetrius Crosby led all scorers with 23 points.
W.F. West not only stood up to the defending state champions, they dominated and never trailed in the game. The Bearcats led 14-3 after a quarter and never looked back.
“The game plan was just not play at their speed,” Thomas said. “Slow the game down because we play better when we’re more in control.”
Foss outscored W.F. West by a point in the second quarter but trailed 28-18 at halftime.
Foss trailed 42-31 going into the final frame, and early in the fourth, Micah Pollard dunked and was hit with a technical foul for hanging on the rim. Foss coach Mike Cocke was then given a technical for arguing the call.
The foul call sparked Foss and helped the Falcons close the gap to 51-50 with 26 seconds left.
Brandon White then stepped up and hit two free throws to seal the win for the Bearcats, and Foss’ final 3-point heave was well off the mark.
“We don’t want to run up and down with a team like that. We wanted to keep it in the 40s or 50s,” Chris White said. “They really are tough with their presses, their half court traps. That was tough, to weather that storm.”
W.F. West has had its issues at the free throw line this season, but went 27 of 36 from the line on Friday.
The Bearcats now face recent foe Lynden, who beat W.F. West 73-46 last Saturday in the regional round at Mount Vernon.
Thomas said the Bearcats need to close out on shooters and run a set offense to reverse the regional result.
“Keep it simple, stay calm, execute, be physical, be the aggressor and don’t be the victim and we should be fine,” White said. “It will be a beautiful battle if we do all that.”
The win is especially notable for the Bearcat seniors, several of whom played on an 0-21 varsity team as freshmen. White took over as head coach the following year.
“We have something special,” White said. “This is a lifetime of friendship and togetherness that will be with us forever. That’s what we bank on.”
Win or lose on Saturday, the Bearcats realize the implications of their playoff streak. W.F. West hasn’t been in the state tournament since 2008, and the only state boys basketball championship in school history came back in 1960.
“I’m so blessed by the moment,” White said. “If they leave it all on the floor. It comes down to a single play and it might go one way or the other, but just keep trying to solve problems together and try to get the right look, right defensive scheme, the right offensive look, and whatever happens, we’ve got to play with house money, is how we feel.”
BEARCATS 53, FALCONS 50
Foss 3 15 13 19 —50
W.F. West 14 14 14 11 —53
Foss (50) — Crosby 23, Pollard 11, Kelly 4, Barnes 1, Leufroy 2, Massey 9
FG: 16 of 53 —.302 FT: 16 of 19 —.842 Reb: 22 (Massey 7)
W.F. West (53) — Wollan 6, Thomas 10, B. White 18, C. White 2, Cooper 14, Jones 3
FG: 11 of 25 —.440 FT: 27 of 36 —.750 Reb: 27 (B. White 7)