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Thursday’s State 2A Boys Basketball: W.F. West Upsets Selah For Berth in Semifinals

Images from a State 2A Boys Basketball quarterfinal game between W.F. West and Selah at the Yakima Sundome on Thursday, March 1, 2018.

HEART: Bearcats Play Defending Champion Foss in Semifinals on Friday
By Matt Baide
YAKIMA — The Selah fans started the ‘I believe’ chant before a State 2A Boys Basketball quarterfinal game against W.F. West here on Thursday, and many people expected the No. 2 ranked Vikings to earn the victory.
W.F. West showed how much they believed they would win on the court, defeating Selah 57-54 and earn a spot in the semifinals on Friday against defending champion Foss.
“We feel awesome. We had a lot of confidence, yesterday gave us so much confidence,” W.F. West coach Chris White said. “These guys have just big hearts and they’re just tough guys. We just wanted it really bad. I’m proud of them.”
Bailey Cooper led the Bearcats with 14 points.
“I feel awesome. No one expected us to win and we just did it, so it feels great,” Cooper said.
Brandon White recorded another double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds and Jordan Thomas added 10 points.
Selah’s Elijah Pepper led the Vikings with 26 points on 8 of 30 shooting, including 4 of 15 from behind the arc.
“We knew he could shoot from really deep, he showed that, but we just feel like we play as a real team and those guys have a few big weapons,” White said. “They seem to run everything through those guys so if you can key in on that, you might find success. I really credit our kids mental toughness. Nole Wollan was just so tough in the huddles and everything like that, all these guys.”
W.F. West won the battle in two key areas, rebounds and points in the paint. The Bearcats outrebounded Selah 42-28 and outscored the Vikings in the paint 28-18.
“We realized we were a lot more lengthy than them,” Cooper said. “We thought we could get the ball in the middle of the key and then dish down to me and just get the ball close to the rim and finish over them. That was pretty much the gameplan.”
W.F. West’s defense held every player except Elijah Pepper in single digit scoring, although Selah did score 25 points off of 23 Bearcat turnovers.
“A couple of coaches I talked to said listen, you don’t have a lot of time,” White said. “Why don’t you make them defend because they like to score 85, 90. They don’t really like to play defense, make them grind a little bit. That was a big part of the gameplan for sure.”
Selah led 12-3 with 2:21 left in the first quarter, but a 9-3 W.F. West run to end the quarter cut the Viking lead to 15-12 after one quarter.
“Once we came back from that little deficit at the beginning, we were having a little bit of trouble,” Cooper said. “As soon as that came back, my faith didn’t waiver at all. I thought we were going to win this game.”
W.F. West scored 16 points in the second quarter and led 28-26 at halftime. The teams were tied at 42 going into the fourth quarter and were tied at 54 with 1:08 left in the game, and Bryce Dobyns came up with a steal to give the Bearcats a chance to take the lead.
Jordan Thomas hit a reverse layup to take the lead, and Bailey Cooper knocked down 1 of 2 free throws for a 57-54 lead. Pepper’s 3-pointer to tie didn’t fall, and the W.F. West team and crowd in attendance were celebrating once again.
Foss defeated Liberty (Issaquah) 76-62 in the quarterfinals, and W.F. West knows it will be the toughest test of the season against the defending state champs on Friday.
“Hopefully, our toughness will shine through again,” White said. “It will be a tough test, they’re very fast, but we’re really excited.”

At Yakima
W.F. West 12 16 14 15 —57
Selah 15 11 16 12 —54
W.F. West (57) — Wollan 6, Thomas 10, B. White 13, C. White 6, Cooper 14, Dobyns 3, Jones 2, Speck 3
FG: 22 of 44 —.500 FT: 7 of 12 —.583 Reb: 42 (B. White 14)
Selah (54) — Herting 6, Donato 5, Morford 8, N. Pepper 8, E. Pepper 26, Middlebrooks 1
FG: 18 of 59 —.305 FT: 9 of 15 —.600 Reb: 28 (Donato 10)

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