Munoz Starts Fast, Vikings Hold Off Late Rally to Vault Past Blackhawks into Quarterfinals


SPOKANE — Getting out to a big lead before holding on for dear life, the No. 11 Mossyrock boys basketball team scraped by No. 6 Lummi Nation in the 1B state tournament round of 12, 67-64, Wednesday afternoon to advance to the state quarterfinals at Spokane Arena. 

The Vikings led by 16 points in the first quarter, building up a 25-9 lead, thanks to an early barrage from Zack Munoz, but couldn’t quite ever put a scrappy Blackhawks squad away in a do-or-die contest. 

“We were pushing the ball the whole game,” Vikings coach Tom Kelly said. “And at the beginning of the fourth quarter we really took off, and thank god, because we really needed that. We kept thinking if we kept pushing the ball they’d get tired, and they never got tired. There was no quit in them.”

But loser-out games are nothing new to the Vikings, who have been playing with their season on the line for what feels like a month, and Wednesday afternoon clinched at least two more games as they enter the Elite Eight, and double elimination round of the tournament. 

The Vikings will play a familiar foe, No. 4 Willapa Valley, in the quarterfinals Thursday at 3:45 p.m.

“Our back has been against the wall for the last three weeks,” Kelly said. “They know us and we know them, I think it boils down to who is hitting shots. Who is going to adjust to these rims faster? Zack sure seemed to like them, but we both play good defense and hitting shots is going to be key.”

In the matchup Wednesday, Munoz’s hot start was enough to build up a lead, and a frenetic start to the fourth quarter that featured numerous turnovers forced and even more runouts and transition buckets, the Vikings needed every point to seal the win. 

Munoz scored a team-high 28 points, and Keegan Kolb added 25 points and hauled in a game-high 14 rebounds from the guard spot. His brother, Easton, scored seven points and had 10 boards, and Hunter Isom had 11 big rebounds. 

“They say that your mind will let you go 60% and it will shut off and won’t let you go anymore, but we had to dig deep and keep going,” Kelly said. “They would not go away. We needed to dig deep to win this one.” 

For now, the Vikings will enjoy the comfort of not playing for their season Thursday, but will be playing for a berth into the state semifinals against a Valley team they have already lost to twice.