The Hermiston boys basketball team likes to keep its fans on the edge of their seats.
Friday night was no different as the Bulldogs trailed most of the game and needed a last-second shot by Ryne Andreason to slip past Kennewick 64-63 in Mid-Columbia Conference action at the Dawg House.
“I wouldn’t mind a game where we came out, established a lead and I could get some other guys in,” Hermiston coach Casey Arstein said. “A win is a win. You have to protect your house. This league is tough.”
The victory gave the Bulldogs (10-3, 6-3 MCC) two wins over the Lions (7-6, 3-6) this season, which is key for seeding to the 3A regionals. Hermiston has one game left against Southridge and Kamiakin. Both are must-wins if the Bulldogs hope to secure the top seed.
Hermiston trailed 51-50 heading into the fourth quarter, but a basket and two free throws by Andreason gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game at 58-55.
The Lions would come back to tie the score at 58-58, and led 63-60 on a 3-pointer by Blaine Chavez and a basket by Kobe Simmons-Dumo with 41 seconds remaining.
Andreason scored to pull his team within 63-62, and the Lions had a chance to extend their lead with 13 seconds left as Ayoni Benavides went to the free-throw line for a one-and-one opportunity.
Benavidez missed the front end, and the Bulldogs got the rebound.
With less than 10 seconds on the clock, Hermiston brought the ball down the court and passed the ball around. Anderson ended up with the ball, and he drove into the key.
He looked for an open teammate, but when he found no one open, he used an underhand scoop and put the ball in the basket with 1.6 seconds remaining.
The Lions were able to inbound the ball, but could not get off a shot.
“I got lucky,” said Andreason, who finished with 20 points. “These conference games, we have to make sure we win these ones. They punched us in the mouth the first two quarters and we beat them in the third. It was a good second half for us.”
With time running out, Arstein said there was no use calling a timeout to set up a play.
“He did a good job not throwing the ball away,” Arstein said of Andreason. “He is a very smart kid. These guys trust each other, and that goes a long way.”
Lions coach Bradyn Leyde gave credit to the Bulldogs.
“It definitely was coming down to who had the ball at the end,” he said. “Ryne Andreason is a good player and he hit a tough shot in traffic. Credit to him. This was a good high school basketball game.”
The Lions came out in the first quarter and took a 19-12 lead. Benavidez scored eight of his 13 points in the first, and Chavez added seven of his game-high 22.
Kennewick extended its lead to 26-15 in the second quarter before the Bulldogs staged a comeback.
Jordan Ramirez nailed a 3-pointer; Andrew James hit a pair of free throws; Cesar Ortiz added one free throw; and Ramirez stole the ball and laid it off the glass to pull the Bulldogs within 26-23.
Chavez would hit a pair of 3s, and the teams traded baskets before the half as the Lions led 36-31.
Ramirez added 15 points for the Bulldogs, while Ortiz chipped in 11 and James eight.
Hermiston at Chiawana
Hermiston held Chiawana’s 6-foot-8 Matthew Kroner to just six points and three rebounds, but the rest of the Riverhawks picked up the slack Saturday night in a 68-56 Mid-Columbia Conference win over the Bulldogs in Pasco.
“We did a good job on Kroner, but forgot about everyone else,” Hermiston coach Casey Arstein said. “Blake (Davis) and Adrian (Mendez) did a good job on Kroner, but we didn’t defend the perimeter. We let guys set up shots and beat us off the dribble. It was a lackluster effort.”
In a game that featured three ties and six lead changes, the Bulldogs (10-4 overall, 6-4 MCC) led 16-15 after the first quarter, but went into a shooting slump in the second as the Riverhawks (10-3, 7-2) went on a 19-9 run to take a 34-25 lead at the half.
Hermiston made a run of its own in the third to make the score 43-40 heading into the fourth.
Chiawana exploded for 25 points in the final quarter to hold on for the win.
Cesar Ortiz was a bright spot for the Bulldogs, scoring a game-high 19 points, including a 5-for-6 performance from the 3-point line.
Ryne Andreason added 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Jordan Ramirez chipped in 11 points with six rebounds.
Taylor Perez and Jayden Martinez each had 16 points for Chiawana.
Hermiston vs. Walla Walla
Cesar Ortiz has struggled shooting the deep ball the past few games, but Tuesday night the Hermiston senior was back on target.
Ortiz scored a game-high 25 points, including five 3-pointers, as the Bulldogs posted a 71-57 Mid-Columbia Conference victory over Walla Walla at the Dawg House.
“He did a good job of picking his shots,” said Hermiston coach Casey Arstein, whose team ended a two-game skid. “He was passing the ball, but when he was open guys found him and he knocked down his shots. Everyone is going to have their night.”
Hermiston jumped out to a 25-13 lead after the first quarter, getting eight points from Ortiz and six from Andrew James.
The Bulldogs extended their lead to 37-24 at the half, then had a lull in the third quarter, getting outscored 18-13 as the Blue Devils pulled within 50-42.
“In the first half, we had energy,” Arstein said. “In the third, they made a run and got within one, but we stayed calm and executed. It took us a bit in the fourth to get going.”
With 5:37 to play in the game, Hermiston’s lead was 52-47, but a 19-10 burst to end the game sealed the win.
James added 15 points for the Bulldogs, including seven in the fourth quarter. Ryne Andreason, Jordan Ramirez and Adrian Mendez all chipped in nine points.
Taylor Hamada led the Blue Devils with 18 points.