ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Two times in the final 27 seconds, Grandview shooters put up potentially game-tying 3-pointers, and each one just missed … barely.
With one second left with the Greyhounds trailing CWAC champion Wapato by two points, a Grandview shooter put up a free throw, intending to miss … barely.
And swished it.
That was the difference in Saturday night’s 61-60 Wapato victory in the Class 2A regionals, a classic that the Wolves — hands-down the best team in the CWAC this season — found themselves matched at every turn by the Greyhounds.
“Grandview played with great intensity tonight, and girls we didn’t expect were knocking down 3-pointers for them,” said Wapato coach Joe Blodgett, whose team advanced to next week’s state tournament at the SunDome by the slimmest of margins.
“They had a great game plan and executed it very well. They’re a quality team, and whenever you have Payton Parrish on your team, you’ve got a good chance to come out on top.”
With eight seconds remaining and the Greyhounds (19-6) trailing by three with the ball and an inbounds play coming, that’s precisely what Grandview coach David Gibb called for.
Knowing the Wolves’ defenders would be all over Hound long-ball shooters Breanna Lopez and Hannah Pond, who had already drained five 3-pointers between them, Grandview instead worked Parrish off a screen for an open 3-pointer.
The shot by Parrish, who finished with 14 points, looked so good on the way that most of the people in the Central Washington University fieldhouse thought it was good.
“So did I,” Blodgett said. “I saw it as soon as they set up for the inbounds it was going to Payton. It was a good look, too. For her to miss it, hey, we had to have a little luck.”
And really hustling little players — little in stature alone. Five-foot-4 Darian Gasseling poured in 27 points for the Wolves (21-2), many of them on daring drives through the lane, while Myleah Nason — at just 5-foot-zero — grabbed the biggest rebound of Wapato’s season.
That came when Breanna Lopez (13 points) fired a 3-pointer that would have tied the game with 27 seconds remaining, only to see it carom off the back iron and into Nason’s waiting hands.
“That was really big,” Gasseling said of Nason’s timely rebound. “I held my breath the whole time the ball was in the air, thinking please … please … and then it went right to Myleah.”
That wasn’t Grandview’s last chance, though. The Greyhounds had rallied from a 59-52 deficit with five minutes remaining, with Jamila Shafer — who had a sensational game with 16 points, seven rebounds and a pair of steals — scoring four points during a 6-0 run.
Gasseling missed a free throw with 23 seconds remaining, giving Grandview another opportunity to go for the tie. It was the third straight missed foul shot by the normally deadeye Gasseling.
“I don’t know why,” Gasseling said. “The first half we were on. The second half, I don’t know what it was, nerves or how close the game was …”
Grandview had two 3-point chances in the final 10 seconds, the first by Lopez going out of bounds off Wapato, and then the Parrish attempt. Shafer rebounded the latter and was fouled. Down three points with 1.3 seconds remaining, the Greyhounds had just one chance — for Shafer to make the first, miss the second and get a quick putback.
She made the first. Then she put up a line drive intending to hit the iron … but, instead, found only the bottom of the net.
The shot was too good.
So, too, was Wapato — but by the thinnest of margins.
GRANDVIEW — Payton Parrish 14, Hall 0, Breanna Lopez 13, Caballero 7, Trinidad 2, Jamila Shafer 16, Pond 8, Grove 0. Totals 22-53 11-15 60.
WAPATO — Briana Cordova 10, Sosa 6, Gomez 8, Darian Gasseling 27, Nason 3, Araiza 5, Anderson 2, Young 0, Vela 0. Totals 24-52 7-13 61.
Grandview 14 19 14 13 — 60
Wapato 16 17 20 8 — 61
3-point goals: Grandview 5-18 (Lopez 3-10, Pond 2-4), Wapato 6-18 (Cordova 2-2, Nason 1-2, Gomez 1-3, Araiza 1-3, Gasseling 1-7). Rebounds: Grandview 31 (Parrish 8, Shafer 7), Wapato 29 (Cordova 8). Fouls: Grandview 15, Wapato 15. Fouled out: none. Turnovers: Grandview 14, Wapato 13. Assists: Grandview 13 (Trinidad 7), Wapato 14 (Cordova 4).