KITTITAS – Nick Perez earned his fourth straight state finals berth and Alex Alvarez will wrestle for the first time at the Tacoma Dome this year to highlight Oroville’s day of wrestling at the Class B Eastern Regional on Saturday, Feb. 11.
About Brent BakerBrent is a reporter for the Gazette-Tribune. Prior to working at the G-T, he was the sports editor for Sunrise Publishing from 2000-2005 in Michigan. He subsequently owned and operated Buckland Media, a high school sports website, in Michigan until 2010. He and his wife Kim, who have an adult son, moved to Tonasket in 2010. Brent started work at the G-T in 2011.
Stories by Brent Baker
COLVILLE – It may well be the most intense weekend on the high school wrestling calendar.
The Tonasket Tigers did their best to keep the tension ratcheted up for their fans who trekked to Colville for the state-qualifying Class 1A Region IV tournament on Saturday, Feb. 11.
Four Tigers wrapped up state finals bids and two more will join them at the Tacoma Dome this weekend as alternates, but the 10 hour tournament to determine who would get those coveted spots was a rollercoaster of emotion for those involved.
EAST WENATCHEE – It didn’t take long to see why White Swan is one of the top-rated girls basketball teams in the state.
The Cougars’ physical full court press took its toll on Oroville early as they scored the game’s first 13 points. The Hornets settled down and played far better against the White Swan defense over the final three quarters of Monday’s 53-30 loss in the opening round of the Class 2B District 5/6 tournament, but the damage had been done.
WENATCHEE – The post-season is a new season, and the Oroville boys basketball team is now 1-0 on the road to the state tournament.
Playing with both verve and nerve, the Hornets overcame a serious bout of foul trouble and stanched a furious Riverside Christian rally in the fourth quarter to upset the Crusaders 66-52 Monday, Feb. 13, in the opening round of the Class 2B District 5/6 tournament.
OROVILLE – There wasn’t much that Oroville girls basketball coach Mike Bourn liked about the Hornets’ 61-22 loss to Brewster on Saturday, Feb. 4.
The Bears threw their relentless full court pressure at the Hornets – for all 32 minutes, even though the game was quickly in hand – and were never challenged in handing Oroville a decisive defeat.
COULEE DAM – Seven of eight Oroville wrestlers survived Saturday’s Class B sub-regional at Lake Roosevelt to advance to next weekend’s regional tournament and a chance to qualify for the state finals.
Kittitas claimed team honors, edging Liberty Bell by 12 points for the top spot. Oroville placed eighth out of 12 teams.
TONASKET – With one mad full-court dash to cap a desperate fourth quarter rally, four years of frustration ended in sweet, tearful bedlam for the Tonasket boys basketball team.
Just as the Tigers cut down a 49-game Caribou Trail League losing streak with Thursday’s 56-55 victory over Omak, so did they cut down the net as part of an emotional post-game celebration with families and classmates that was more a catharsis than it was pure jubilation.
TONASKET – Defense may win championships, but not without the rebounding and offense to go with it
Though the score didn’t show it, the Tonasket girls basketball team played a far better overall game against Omak in their second meeting with the Pioneers on Thursday, Feb. 2, than it did a couple of weeks ago. Difficulties with rebounding and scoring proved to be the difference in a 47-30 loss that was was much closer than that through the first three quarters.
When it comes to high school sports, it’s always about much more than just the final score.
Admittedly, moments like those following Tonasket’s streak-breaking, 56-55 victory over Omak last Thursday that make the value of school sports easier appreciate.
It was a sweet victory for the Tigers, to be sure. And while it’s easy to get excited about a one-point buzzer-beater, the depth of emotion in the post-game celebration spoke to a lot more than just a victory in a game.
At the start of the season, even Tonasket wrestling coach Dave Mitchell wasn’t sure what to expect from his youthful squad. With 13 Tigers advancing to this weekend’s regional meet, including four freshmen and four sophomores, Tonasket’s third place finish Saturday at the 1A District 6 tournament was what Mitchell had hoped for.