It’s not often a team will score 80 points and lose a game, but a lackluster second quarter hurt Hermiston as it tried to extend its season Monday.
The Bulldogs were outscored 16-11 in the second and dropped a District 8 loser-out game to Shadle Park 86-80 at Kennewick High School.
“As a coach, you never know when it’s the last game,” said Hermiston coach Casey Arstein, whose team finished the season 15-8. “That’s why you play high school sports, to learn life lessons. With six seniors, it’s tough. I got to be their coach for three years, it was awesome.”
The Highlanders turned around and played Kennewick 90 minutes after their win. Shadle Park beat the Lions 87-81 to earn a berth to regionals.
“I couldn’t do it, but the kids have more energy,” SP coach Arnold Brown said with a laugh.
Brown said he had seen film of Hermiston before the game, but that you never know what you will get until you step on the court.
“They are a loaded team,” Brown said of the Bulldogs. “Their five guards do a good job of penetrating, kicking it out and hitting the 3. They can score, and we had to score with them. They never gave up.”
It would have been easy for the Bulldogs to throw in the towel when they trailed 79-64 with 3:08 remaining in the fourth quarter, but that is not in their nature.
Instead, they went on a 16-7 run to cut the deficit to single digits. In the run, Andrew James drilled a pair of 3s and Cesar Ortiz added two buckets inside, but they simply ran out of time.
“We played our hearts out,” said James, who finished with 18 points in his final high school game. “We left it all out there. I’m proud of everyone.”
The first quarter ended tied 24-24, but the Bulldogs trailed 24-18 with just over a minute to play.
James drove the lane, made the basket, was fouled and made the ensuing free throw. Ortiz, who scored a game-high 25 points, drilled a 3 with 36 seconds left to knot the score.
The Highlanders rattled off the first eight points of the second quarter, while the Bulldogs struggled to score. Cole Smith hit a free throw at 4:37 to end the drought.
Six of Hermiston’s points in the quarter came from the free throw line, as the Bulldogs trailed 40-35 at the half.
After the break, the Hilanders started to open things up, taking a 13-point lead — 59-46 — with 2:04 left in the third.
Ortiz hit another 3 — he finished with six — Jordan Ramirez sank a pair of free throws, and Ryne Andreason finished the quarter with a bucket inside to cut the lead to 61-55.
“We played hard,” Arstein said. “We missed a couple of big opportunities in the fourth to cut into their lead. Shadle Park is a talented team. They hit some shots inside and out top.”
Andreason added 15 points, and Ramirez 12 for the Bulldogs.
Nian Allen led Shadle Park with 16 points, while DaMarius Brown and Jake Groves each had 15.
Hermiston vs. Kamiakin
Hermiston jumped out to an early lead, then held off a furious Kamiakin rally in the fourth quarter to beat the Braves 61-56 on Saturday in a District 8 loser-out game at the Dawg House.
Jordan Ramirez scored six of his team-high 14 points in the first quarter for the Bulldogs as they cruised to an 18-9 lead.
Cesar Ortiz and Cole Smith each had six points in the second quarter as Hermiston stretched its lead to 36-20.
Kamiakin went on a 20-9 run in the fourth quarter, led by Kyson Rose with nine points, but the Braves never were able to catch the Bulldogs.
Ortiz added 12 points for the Bulldogs, while Cole Smith added 10.
Hermiston vs. Kennewick
Hermiston and Kennewick had a little rust in their games Friday night, but it would be the Lions who got their act together first in the District 8 semifinal game at the Dawg House.
Tyler Pearson hit eight 3-pointers and finished with 26 points to lead Kennewick to an 86-75 victory over the Bulldogs and into the championship game.
Kennewick hit five 3-pointers in the second to extend its lead to 39-20. At the other end, the Lions shut down the Bulldogs’ perimeter game, allowing just one 3 by Cesar Ortiz in the first half.
The Lions led by 22 — 46-24 — early in the third period, but the Bulldogs did not fold.
Ortiz scored 13 of his game-high 28 points in the third quarter to help pull the Bulldogs within 48-38 with 3:08 remaining in the quarter.
Kennewick would drain a couple of 3s down the stretch for a 58-41 lead with one quarter to play.
Andreason scored 21 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter for the Bulldogs, who were within 10 of the Lions seven times in the final quarter. Hermiston trimmed the deficit to 83-75 with a pair of free throws by Andreason, but there were only 13 seconds left in the game.