The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Dave Schreindl
the Times 

D-W Boys Basketball Notches Historic Win Against Liberty Christian


February 6, 2020

Freshman Monte Pettichord tried heroically to repeat his miracle shot from last week against Pomeroy, instead his 3-pointer for the win clanked off the rim. However, one person's miss is an opportunity for another. His teammate, Junior Mason Finney grabbed the rebound and dribbled backwards out to beyond the three-point line to launch another buzzer-beating winning shot for the D-W win over Liberty Christian 50-49.

Historically it was the combined program's first Eastern Washington Athletic Conference league victory. It proved once again that hard work and determination does eventually pay off even when facing a team that is taller and has much more facial hair.

There were a lot of unknowns coming into this make up contest from December. Dayton-Waitsburg was playing Liberty Christian for the second game in a row and had lost by 20 points just five days earlier 61-41.

It was evident early there was a different atmosphere to this contest. Senior Joe White hit a 15-footer from the free throw line for two points about two minutes into the game for the first points of the contest. White would score the teams next two points from the same spot and would finish with 12 points in a career-effort game.

Finney, who led D-W with 16 points, contributed to the 13-8 first quarter advantage with an offensive rebound and put back. Sophomore Dylan Bledsoe and Pettichord each hit a trey to grab the momentum momentarily.

Dayton-Waitsburg extended the lead to nine points, 22-13, until the Patriots went on a 10-0 run to take the lead briefly before a Junior Colton VanBlaricom free throw tied it up at 23-23 just in time for the intermission.

"I thought it was a very well fought game," VanBlaricom said. "We knew we were going to have to work hard and we came out and did just that. We haven't been able to put up four quarters of basketball together, but we did that night and the results ended in a win. We would have hoped to have won by a bigger margin but right now all we were really looking for is a win and we hope to take this game and turn it into momentum and finish the year up strong."

Liberty Christian junior point guard Grant McClure became a one-man force of nature, willing his team to keep the score close. McClure would finish with a game high 31 points. He only put up 10 points last time the teams met. Junior Michael Connolly put a hurting on D-W last time, with 25 points with seven shots beyond the three-point arc. Wednesday night Connolly only scored three points. It was clear early on that he was bothered by something and spent a lot of time on the bench, including a trip there after three minutes into the game. Thus, there was a need for someone like McClure to pick up the slack.

It felt like the game had reset going into the final 16 minutes. It also seemed like Dayton-Waitsburg would fall into the season tradition of a third quarter lull, but a Bledsoe's three-pointer to tie up the game again at 27 even, put that idea to rest. Yet, Liberty Christian outscored D-W 10-5 for a 37-32 lead going into the final quarter.

The final quarter was a gigantic tug-of-war. Finney hit a trey to close D-W's deficit to two points, but two quick buckets by McClure started to create that pit in your stomach feeling that Dayton-Waitsburg might let this contest get away. Finney returned hope to the anxious gym atmosphere as he hit one of two free throws with two and half minutes left to tie the game up at 44.

As the decibels increased in the gym, the Patriots Curtis Morgan sunk a three-pointer. His shot was followed by a layup by Cody Dunham to give Liberty Christian a five-point lead with one minute 25 second left. Those series of events quieted things greatly. VanBlaricom hit one of two free throws with 36 seconds left to make it 49-45 creating a glimmer of hope.

After a miss and two forced Patriot turnovers, senior Tayven Seney scored his only points with 20 seconds left, now it was 49-47. With 12 seconds left, Aiden Lesser went to the line to shoot a one-and-one and the chance to dash any thoughts of an upset. To the delight of the crowd, he missed the first and only shot, which set up the game winning shot by Finney.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final

Liberty Christian 8 15 14 12 49

Dayton-Waitsburg 13 10 9 18 50

Liberty Christian (49): McClure 31, Lesser 7, Connolly 3, C. Morgan 3, Bishop 3, Dunham 2. 3-pts: 6-18, McClure 3, Bishop, Lesser, C. Morgan. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: N. Morgan. Turnovers: 13. Free Throws: 7-13.

Dayton-Waitsburg (50): Finney 16, White 12, VanBlaricom 9, Bledsoe 7, Pettichord 3, Costello 2, Seney 2. 3-pts: 6-10, Finney 3, VanBlaricom, Bledsoe, Pettichord. Fouls: 14. Technical Foul: Seney. Turnovers: 17. Free Throws: 10-17.

Columbia Burbank 45, Dayton-Waitsburg 40

The Dayton-Waitsburg boys basketball team put up one heck of a fight and came within a couple of shots of repeating its second upset in three days. D-W dropped a close EWAC game 45-40 on the night its three seniors were celebrated.

Seniors Joe White, Tayven Seney, and Seamus House were recognized before warmups and each were starters for this contest. Eager to show off his shaved head, White hit his patented 15-foot jump shot from the free throw line to put D-W on the board first.

Junior Mason Finney hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 5-5 two and half minutes into the game that created the makings of an exciting game. However, Burbank rattled off the next eight points rather impressively that quickly reversed DW's early fortune and looked like it could be a possible Coyote rout.

It's too bad the season is ending without Dayton-Waitsburg having a shot at the playoffs. They seem to be coming together well as a team and the overwhelming defeats in the first half of the season are now victories or closely contested contests as was exhibited Friday night. It does bode well for the team's future.

The biggest example of the growth of this team came in the third quarter. In the first part of the season D-W would traditionally fade away in the third quarter. Friday night that didn't happen for the third straight contest as they went shot-for-shot with Burbank, but still trailed by 10 to start the fourth quarter.

It seemed to be all but over until back-to-back-to-back buckets by Finney, a 3-pointer by Bledsoe, and an 8-foot jumper from Junior Sean Evans to make it a 40-37 game with four minutes left.

From here the ball didn't seem to go Dayton-Waitsburg's way. After three straight misses, Finney went to the free throw line after being fouled on the fourth attempt. Finney hit both free throws, however the second one was waved off on a player control foul on Seney. Instead of being 41-39, Burbank retained a three-point lead.

Then on the following offensive Dayton-Waitsburg possession, Burbank's Dominic Percifield stepped in front of a telegraphed D-W pass and took it all the way to the basket for two points and a 43-38 lead. Percifield had a chance to put the game away with less than three minutes to go but missed both his free throws.

Finney then returned the favor and stole the ball from the Coyotes and laid it up with two minutes left and cut the deficit to three, 43-40. But from there Dayton-Waitsburg wouldn't score again for a heart-breaking loss and missed a chance at a second league victory.

Finney led all scorers with 13. Burbank also only had one player in double figures, Alex Avalos with 10 points.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final

Burbank 17 7 12 9 45

Dayton-Waitsburg 11 4 11 14 40

Burbank (45): Avalos 10, D. Percifield 9, Wickstrom 7, Koopman 6, Kinsey 5, Pariera 5, Frimodt 3. 3-pts: 5-15, Koopman 2, D. Percifield 2, Kinsey. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: Pariera. Turnovers: 16. Free Throws: 6-17.

Dayton-Waitsburg (40): Finney 13, Bledsoe 8, White 6, VanBlaricom 5, Costello 2, Evans 2, Seney 2, Pettichord 2. 3-pts: 4-13, Bledsoe 2, Finney, VanBlaricom. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: White. Turnovers: 18. Free Throws: 6-11.

Tri-City Prep 53, Dayton-Waitsburg 26

There was little excitement against Dayton-Waitsburg's loss to Tri-City Prep on Saturday. Only the score was available at press time.

Dayton-Waitsburg finished up its regular season with an EWAC league contest at DeSales on Tuesday. Before the game they were 1-10 in league and 3-15 overall, three more wins than they had last year.


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