Hanford Champion
Year: 2006
Team: Basketball (Boys)
District Champions
Front Row (left to right): Michelle Bobbie, Meghan Dudney.

Second Row (left to right): Alex Moore, Max Powers, Nikos Danakos, Kyle Cruzen, Casey Johnson, Kenan Mehinovic.

Back Row (left to right): Mike Galvin (Assistant Coach), Taylor Leitze, Steve Severin, Bradyn Leyde (Assistant Coach), Paul Mayer (Head Coach), Drew Curry, Tommy Begalka, Rich Giller (Assistant Coach).

The Falcon Boys and Girls Basketball teams both won the Mid-Valley League District Championships. The last time this occurred was 1981. Both teams did it by beating the West Valley-Yakima Rams. The boys went to double overtime before squeaking out a 43-39 victory. The girls squeaked out a one point win, 45-44, with the outcome in doubt till the final buzzer sounded. The last District Championship for the girls was 1997, which is the last year they have appeared at the State Tournament. This is the boys’ second consecutive District Championship. A game summary is provided below.

West Valley made Hanford wait for its Mid-Valley district title Saturday night.

And wait, and wait.

But it was worth it. And the Falcons journeyed to double overtime before outlasting the Rams 43-39 at Art Dawald Gym to capture the last championship before the league disbands.

Now Hanford will wait to see when it plays North Central in the first round of regionals next week.

The date is yet to be determined, but after Saturday against West Valley, the Falcons should've have a problem being patient.

"They were holding the ball (for minutes) and we had to keep our mind in it," said senior forward Nikos Danakos.

Danakos, for one, kept his head. He scored six of his 11 points after regulation, including the decisive free throws with 49 seconds left in the second OT, and hit a go-ahead jumper with under one minute to go in the first extra session.

"The (jumper) was meant for Steve (Severin), but I told him coming out of the huddle that if he got double-teamed to look for me," Danakos said. "I was ready; I've been waiting four years for this."

When put in that kind of perspective, what's a couple extra sessions, and some

abnormally long possessions between a team and its second straight district title?

Hanford (18-4) got there by scoring nine points in the second OT -- considered an offensive boom in this game. Danakos' free throws followed a layin of his after picking up a loose ball and made it 40-34.

Tommy Begalka, who had a game-high 14 points, made three of four free throws in the closing seconds, and West Valley (8-14) clawed back with three free throws and got three shots off on the final possession of the game -- one of them blocked by Steve Severin, who had five of them to go along with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

"We got some shots we wanted, but what can you say ... they didn't go," said West Valley coach Jim Berndt. "When we came down here the first time we had the doors blown off (64-43). We felt if we could compete better this time we could be there."

The Rams were more than there, they had a chance to win it at the end of regulation.

With the game tied at 32, they employed the dribble hand-off along the perimeter -- a popular and time consuming move for them -- and ran 53 seconds down to just a few before guard Jordan Juarez tried to take Drew Curry one-on-one.

Curry, who was the permanent switch defender at the top of the key, stayed with Juarez, who lost the ball out of bounds as time expired.

Only two points were scored for each team in the first overtime, and Danakos' jumper broke a 8-minute, 11-second drought that saw neither team score.

Though there weren't many possessions in that time frame. Hanford attempted three shots in the first OT, while West Valley put up just two.

West Valley's Matt Borton knocked in a baseline jumper with three seconds to tie the game at 34, and send it to another extra period.

"Certainly we played poor offensively, but we've been strong with our defense and it carried us," said Hanford coach Paul Mayer. "I felt West Valley did what they felt they had to do to win the game, but our guys did not break down."

Only briefly, in the third quarter up 22-15, did Hanford threaten to break the game open. But West Valley countered with a 9-2 run, and from there it was just a matter of who would make more plays down the stretch.

For the Falcons, it was just a matter of waiting for their chance.


Brad Cherry, Brett Goodman, Phil Jennings 8, Evan Berndt 3, Matt Borton 4, Jordan Juarez 11, Eric Myra, Tim Wagar 6, Jared Robinson 7. Totals 15-55 5-8 39.


Taylor Leitze, Mac Powers Nikos Danakos 11, Drew Curry 6, Alex Moore, Casey Johnson 2, Tommy Begalka 14, Steve Severin 10. Totals 15-36 10-15 43.

West Valley 13 2 13 4 2 5 -- 39

Hanford 12 9 6 5 2 9 -- 43

Highlights -- Severin 13 rebounds, 5 blocks; Wagar 2 blocks.
After coming up with the most dramatic plays at the most dramatic moments the previous night, the Rams couldn't duplicate those heroics in Saturday's Mid-Valley District championship game.

"We had chances and didn't convert at the most crucial times," West Valley head coach Jim Berndt said.

One of those times came in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter with the score tied 32-32. The Rams held the ball for a final shot, but couldn't convert, forcing overtime.

Matt Borton's bucket with two seconds remaining in the first overtime forced another extra period.

The Falcons finally prevailed with Nikos Danikos scoring four of his 11 points and Tommy Begalka scoring three of his 14 in the second overtime.

Jordan Juarez scored 11 points to lead West Valley, which travels to West Valley of Spokane on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. regional game.

WEST VALLEY — Cherry 0, Goodman 0, Borton 4, Jennings 8, Berndt 3, Jordan Juarez 11, Hancock 0, Wagar 6, Robinson 7.

HANFORD — Leitze 0, Powers 0, Nikos Danakos 11, Curry 6, Moore 0, Johnson 2, Tommy Begalka 14, Steve Severin 10.

13 2 13 4 2 5 — 39 - West Valley

12 9 6 5 2 9 — 43 - Hanford


Game 1: West Valley 61, Prosser 47 - Winner plays Ellensburg.
Game 2: Selah 75, Sunnyside 73 - Winner plays Hanford.


Game 4: West Valley-Yakima 45, Ellensburg 42
Game 5: Hanford 60, Selah 50


Game 3: Prosser 89, Sunnyside 64 (5th Seed to the Regional Tournament and loser out)
Game 6: Ellesburg 77, Selah 71 (Overtime) (Winner 3rd seed and loser 4th seed to the Regional Tournament)
Game 7: Hanford 43, West Valley-Yakima 39 (Double Overtime) (Winner 1st seed and loser 2nd seed to the Regional Tournament)


February 15 Results

Game #1: West Valley-Spokane Eagles 58, North Central Indians (Spokane) 54 (1st Seed to Regional Tournament)

February 17 Results

Game #2: Cheney Blackhawks 50, East Valley-Spokane 43 (loser out).

February 18 Resukts

Game #3: North Central Indians (Spokane) 62, Cheney Blackhawks 30 (Winner 2nd seed, loser 3rd seed to Regional Tournament)