SPOKANE – The Oroville Hornets saw their chances at a State trophy slip away in two heartbreakers in Spokane including a double overtime loss against White Swan.
In their first trip to the State Tournament since 2005, the Hornets took on White Swan at Spokane’s Veterans Coliseum on Wednesday, March 4. The Hornets took a narrow early lead finishing the first quarter ahead of the Cougars by one point 12 to 11. In the second quarter White Swan took the lead and as the teams hit the locker rooms for half time it was 28 to the Hornet’s 24.
The Hornets came back with a vengeance, holding the Cougars to four while they scored 16. As Oroville began the fourth quarter leading 40 to 32, the Cougars went for a final push and made 12 points, holding the Hornets to four and tying up the game, 44 all in regulation triggering overtime play.
The first overtime was a low scoring one with neither team being able to push their advantage more than five points and it ended 49 to 49.
“We kept White Swan to 44 points in regulation which was 25 points below their average for the year. We had our chances to win in regulation in the first overtime, but didn’t convert,” said Head Coach Carl Iverson.
In the second overtime Oroville and White Swan battled for dominance and the Cougars edged out the Hornets 14 to 10 for a final score of 59 to 63.
“We missed 11 free throws for the game which ended up being the key,” Coach Iverson said.
Brandon Funston, a junior, topped the Hornet’s scoring with 21, while senior Marcus Kinman had 15. Luke Rowton and Adam Peterson had seven each, Cody Mills, four, Preston Iverson, three and Chris Wolley, two.
“Our boys fought hard and did the things we needed to do to win. I was very proud of the teams effort and hard work,” said Iverson.
On Thursday, March 5 Oroville faced Quilcene to determine who would play for fifth place and just a few seconds made the difference that saw the Rangers win 47 to 45.
In that game the Rangers and Hornets fought for the lead and after one quarter it was Quilcene eight and Oroville seven. In the second quarter the two teams continued to battle and play was tight. At the half time buzzer it was 18 to 20 with the Cougars still holding the lead.
The Hornets came back ready to turn the tables on the Rangers and tied things up 33 to 33 in the third quarter. Again it was tight play as the two teams matched each other point for point. It was tied 45 all with time running out when the Rangers shot and made two at the buzzer winning the game.
“Quilcene hit a jumper as time expired to beat us,” Coach Iverson said.
Funston and Mills had 11 points each, Kinman, eight; Rowton, six; Wolley, five and Preston Iverson, four.
“It was a real heartbreaker. Again, free throws were the key for our lost. We missed five free throws in the fourth quarter and eight for the game. In close games, free throws usually are the difference.”
After beating Oroville, White Swan went on to defeat Pe Ell, 62 to 54 on March 5 and lost to Davenport, 50 to 57, on March 6. Davenport went on to lose to NW Christian, 39 to 54 in the State Championship game.
“I was again real proud of our team and we never gave up and fought until the end. I want to thank all the fans that supported us in our playoff run, and especially the band for travelling many miles to play for Oroville. It was a great ride and our team showed much pride for the community of Oroville,” Iverson said.