Pirates prepped for return to Ephrata


This time last spring, the Adna Pirates were ahead of schedule.

After a 13-5 regular season, they went 3-2 in the district tournament, taking fourth, and they were given the No. 11 seed in the 12-team state tournament.

The Pirates went on a Cinderella run to the state title game, topping the No. 6, 3 and 2 seeds on the way, before ultimately falling just short against Tri-Cities Prep in the championship game.

This year’s group has proven that last May’s run was no fluke.

Adna went 17-3 in the regular season, made it to the district title game, and earned a top-three seed in the state tournament. With a win in the state quarterfinals, the Pirates punched their ticket back to Ephrata.

“We’re all really excited,” Danner Hoinowski said. “Going two years in a row is awesome, and we’re all pumped about it.”

They’re first test in Ephrata? The same Tri-Cities Prep team that walked off the Pirates last spring.

“I think we’re all a little hungry,” Tristan Percival said. “We didn’t like losing to them last year. It sucked.”

“I think all the guys that were there last year, I think they all remember that and they remember how close we were,” Hoinowski said. “There’s definitely that kind of edge.”

These Jaguars present a daunting task. Since losing twice to River View in March, they’ve rattled off 16 straight wins, including a win over the Panthers in the District 5 championship game. They’ll enter Ephrata with a 22-2 overall record.

“They’re a good team,” Percival said. “We’re not gonna take that from them. But we think we’re a little better than everybody. That’s just who we are. We’re gonna go play our game, and we’re gonna have fun while we’re doing it.”

After losing two of their first three games of the season, the Pirates have lost just two since, both to Toutle Lake, the No. 1 seed that’s playing in the other state semifinal. 

That great stretch of play includes a comeback over Northwest Christian in the quarterfinals on Saturday, one where the Pirates rallied from a 6-0 deficit to win 9-8.

“We don’t quit,” Percival said. “We have some dawgs that like to win here, and we like to work … We do it for each other. We’re family at the end of the day.”

That family, Percival said, has developed over the last several years. He explained that since his freshman year, this core and the program have grown and developed a championship pedigree.

And now, if the Pirates can top the team that bested them last year, they’ll have the chance to bring home their first state championship since 2015.

“We’re ready,” Hoinowski said. “And we’re gonna go give Tri-Cities Prep all we got.”