|Team: Basketball (Boys)|
Beribak, Bird Lead Hanford to MVL District Title
Admir Beribak's most difficult shot of the evening also happened to be his easiest and most efficient. It was pretty important too.
It helped lift Hanford to the 47-43 district championship win over Ellensburg Saturday. And despite losing their final two games of the regular season, all is well with the Falcons (20-2) as they head into regionals seeded No. 1 where they'll get a home game against Cheney on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs (13-9) settled for No. 2 and get West Valley of Spokane on Tuesday.
But back to Beribak.
The 3-pointer he chucked with 1:14 remaining looked more forced than some of his other rushes. If the two Ellensburg defenders guarding him were any closer they'd have been wearing his No. 22 jersey.
But looks are deceiving. His shot hit all net and put Hanford up 45-43.
"That was the first shot all night where he got his feet set and was on balance," said Hanford coach Paul Mayer. "The thing about Admir is he's not going to stop shooting, nor do I want him too."
Beribak could have. He started slow but scored 11 of his team-high 17 in the second half, including seven in the fourth.
"I was forcing a little bit but on the last one I knew I could make it," Beribak said. "I've been making those shots all year."
Ellensburg decided to play its hand to win rather than tie. After getting the ball back down by two with 58 seconds left they ran the clock down and ended up getting a Greg Johnson 3-point attempt that was off the mark.
Hanford forward Wes Bird made two free throws with seven seconds left to push the lead to four.
"We got the shot we wanted it just didn't work out," said Ellensburg coach Eric Davis. "Our kids fought the whole way and hopefully we can meet them again down the road."
This game marked the second meeting of these teams in the last week.
Ellensburg won the first one 54-52. And the referees could've saved a lot of time by simply fast-forwarding to the fourth quarter Saturday, because it was destined to be another close one.
Hanford led 40-33 with just 4:37 to go, but Ellensburg mounted a run and made it 42-41 on a 3-point play by Tyler Gordon. Johnson's two free throws gave the Bulldogs a 43-42 edge with 1:28 left -- its first lead since the beginning of the second quarter.
Riley Sivak kept the Bulldogs close early with medium range jumpers. He led his team with 17. Tyler Cathey scored 11 of his 16 in the first half and added five assists. One of which was a spectacular jump pass in the second quarter that ended up in the hands of Bird for a dunk.
Brian Rittereiser's halfcourt 3-pointer at the buzzer pulled Ellensburg to within 23-21 at halftime.
Steve Severin added four blocks for the Falcons and was a load inside defensively.
ELLENSBURG � Gray 4, Affholter 0, Johnson 9, Griffith 5, Beach 0, Faire 0, Rittereiser 5, Riley Sivak 17, Gordon 3, Quirk.
HANFORD � Tyler Cathey 16, Curry 2, Collins 2, Admir Beribak 17, Begalka 0, Hedgecock 0, Bird 4, Severlin 6.
12 9 10 12 � 43 - Ellensburg
11 12 12 12 � 47 - Hanford