Zillah boys and girls basketball teams must win or go home today

A Zillah player passes the ball into the key during the Leopards’ state-opener against Nooksack Valley.

Photo by Manny Dimas
A Zillah player passes the ball into the key during the Leopards’ state-opener against Nooksack Valley.

— It’s do or die today for Zillah’s boys and girls basketball teams after both lost their opening round games in the state 1A tournament.

The Zillah boys were unable to get past defending 1A champions King’s last night, falling 65-63. And the girls dropped their game, 51-42, to Nooksack Valley

Coming into the game, the Leopards boys were one of the favorites to take it all the way after beating No. 1-ranked Lynden Christian, 60-49, in last Saturday’s regional contest.

But defending 1A state champion King’s (22-3) provided a tough challenge — the Knights were runners up in 2013 and 2014.

Yesterday’s contest began with Zillah getting off to a quick start with a 3-pointer; but the Knights answered.

As the quarter moved on, the Leopards started to pull away scoring point-after-point to end the first quarter up 13-8.

In the second, it was much the same, with Zillah going on small runs building on the lead, getting as far as 13 points ahead midway through the quarter.

But the game took a turn with 3:49 to go as King’s began a 12-1 run to cut it to 29-27 going into the half.

Coming out of the locker room, the Leopards were keen to hold to the lead and not let the Knights catch up. They kept King’s at arm’s length most of the third.

But King’s would go on to score five unanswered points to take the lead with 25 seconds left in the quarter.

Trey Delp of Zillah then made a 2-point shot to give his team the lead once more, entering the final period ahead 44-43.

As the final quarter started, King’s was quick to get the lead, before losing it once more as the teams battled it out with time ticking away.

Things got closer in the closing moments of the game with Zillah unable to stop Corey Kispert from making three from long range — he tied the game at 63 with under a minute to go.

With only 22 seconds left, Delp shot from downtown, but missed, in an attempt to regain the lead. The Knights grabbed the rebound and called a timeout.

With only 6 seconds on the clock, King’s Luke Wicks shot the ball and made a jumper as time expired, hand ing the Leopards their second loss of the season and ending a 17-game win streak.

Zillah had three players in double figures, with Delp’s 20 points leading the way. Scott Burge had 14 and Nate Whitaker scored 13.

Corey Kispert came in averaging 22 points per game and had a standout game for King’s with 32 points and 12 rebounds for the night.

Not all is lost.

Zillah (23-2) is still in contention for a trophy as it moves into the consolation round today against Medical Lake in the SunDome.

Results of that game were unavailable at press time.

As for King’s, it moves on the to the semifinals, where it will go up against King’s Way Christian.

Zillah girls

The Zillah girls basketball team fell to Nooksack Valley 51-42 yesterday in the first round of the 1A Hardwood Classic state tournament.

Both teams entered with winning streaks — the Leopards had won 3-of-4 recent games, including a Saturday victory over Jenkins (Chewelah) 51-31.

The Pioneers had won five in a row, which included a regional win over LaCenter, 47-39, to get to state.

The Pioneers would up the scoring first, but it wasn’t long after when Zillah girls took control and went on a 9-4 run to give them a 9-6 lead at the end of the quarter.

But Nooksack Valley had a game-changing second quarter, outscoring the Leopards by 11 points to regain the lead. They took a 21-13 lead to the half.

In the third, there were brief moments where Zillah looked like it would catch up. Despite being able to cut the lead to just 7 points midway through the quarter, the Pioneers would answer back each time as they went into the fourth leading 38-27.

During the final eight minutes of the game, the Leopards were led by Trista Takes Enemy, who would bring them to within 1 point of Nooksack Valley. The score was 40-39 with 3:58 left on the clock.

She’d score all 11 of her points in those remaining four minutes.

Things were looking bright for Zillah and it looked like it would finally be able to get the lead once more, but the Leopards committed too many fouls, which led to some easy points for the Pioneers.

With 30 seconds left and up by 9, the Nooksack girls held the ball as time expired.

Samantha Bowman and Takes Enemy combined for 29 of Zillah’s 42 points for the night. Bowman would also grab eight boards. Nooksack Valley was led by Arlissa Oettel with 16 points.

The Leopards (19-6) drop to the consolation round, where they have a chance for a fourth-place trophy. Last year, they finished fifth.

Zillah faces Columbia (Burbank) at 12:15 p.m. today in the SunDome.

Nooksack Valley advanced to the semi-finals where it will face King’s tonight, with the winner heading to the finals.


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