SPOKANE — Having a tough time adjusting to Spokane Arena’s rims, the No. 2 Morton-White Pass boys basketball team couldn’t get much of anything to fall in the 2B state quarterfinals Thursday afternoon in a 51-44 loss to No. 9 Lind-Ritzville/Sprague/Washtucna.
The Timberwolves shot 28% from the floor, making just 14 of their 40 2-point attempts and shooting even worse from outside: 2-for-17.
That, combined with another scrappy effort from the Broncos after they defeated No. 8 Adna Wednesday night, sunk MWP’s state title hopes after just one game in Spokane.
“I don’t want to make any excuses,” MWP coach Chad Cramer said. “Sometimes it’s not your night shooting, and shooting is contagious, both good and bad. If we just make our layups, we win this game. We just couldn’t make a shot. It didn’t matter what offense we ran or what defense they ran against us, we got every look we wanted, we just couldn’t make it. And unfortunately if you can’t make baskets, you can’t win games.”
The Timberwolves battled foul trouble all game, with Josh Salguero playing just over half the game — 16 minutes — after picking up two fouls early and his fourth early in the third.
Hunter Hazen scored a team-high 20 points and hauled in seven rebounds to lead the scoring effort, and Salguero finished with 13 points, with seven made free throws.
“It’s unfortunate,” Cramer said. “Josh ended up playing just about half the game, 16 minutes. They’re not the first team to do it. We didn’t adjust to the refereeing very well. I don’t think it was bad refereeing; we just didn’t adjust. Unfortunately, he only got to play half of the game, and when that happens — and we’ve been through that — combined with the poor shooting, it’s just a recipe for a loss.”
The Timberwolves’ season is not over, they’ll have a chance to earn a trophy and still can improve on last season’s fifth-place finish with a win tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. against No. 6 Napavine and then a trophy game on Saturday.
With goals of a state title entering the tournament, MWP will have to adjust quickly to a new goal.
“It’s just mental toughness,” Cramer said. “We talked about it. We’re going to go back to the room and we’re not going to feel very good, but by the time we go to dinner, we need to have our eyes forward. We have the opportunity to go trophy-hunting tomorrow, and we have to make the most of that opportunity.”