MOSES LAKE — “Attack” was the buzz word after Friday’s loss to Davis.
There wasn’t enough of an urgency, a lack of aggressiveness. And for a half, that mentality spilled into Moses Lake’s district play-in game Tuesday night against Sunnyside.
But, due in large part to Zach Phillip’s 16 third-quarter points and a late surge from senior captain Ryan Karstetter, the Chiefs upped their efficiency and moved past the Grizzlies to the district semifinals 73-67.
“We weren’t playing our game,” Phillips said. “We were playing into their game-plan and we weren’t attacking the basket and we just finally calmed down and starting running our offense and that’s when we got it going.”
With the loser-out scenario looming, both teams started the game tight. Moses Lake continued its shooting slump, while Sunnyside made careless turnovers by over-passing.
Gio Walker scored the Chiefs’ first field goal with over four minutes gone in the first quarter, igniting a 7-0 run. Moses Lake equaled that run in the second quarter, but the shot-making of Sunnyside kept Tuesday’s game closer than the previous two meetings.
The back-court trio of Trey Sanchez, Art Palacios and Airik Palacios combined for 55 of Sunnyside’s 67 points.
In the third, Phillips took over. The junior guard put his head down and got to the basket time and time again, pouring in 16 of his game-high 28 points.
“I was really disappointed with our effort at halftime,” head coach John Hohman said. “I didn’t feel like we attacked enough and I thought that we could go ahead and exploit some of their defensive abilities at the time. We didn’t do it so all-around we’ve got to play a lot better.”
Despite the surge, Sunnyside kept pace and trailed by only two points at the end of three quarters.
If the third quarter was Phillips’, the fourth was Ryan Karstetter’s. Karstetter scored all nine of his points in the final eight minutes, including a personal 7-0 run to give Moses Lake its largest lead 71-62.
“I was open so they got me the ball and I knew I didn’t play great in the first three quarters so I really had to step it up and it just felt good,” he said.
Moses Lake is now one win away from a regional berth and will play at West Valley Friday in the district semifinals.
The Rams won both meetings during the regular season.
“We’ve got a different game-plan for them this time and we’re just really going to try and play our game and not play theirs like we have been in the past,” Phillips said.
Score by quarters
Moses Lake 13 11 25 25 73
Sunnyside 11 12 24 20 67
ML — Phillips 28, Evan McLean 14, Walker 11, Karstetter 9, Cory Kunjara 7, Vance Alvarado 4
SS — Sanchez 25, Airik Palacios 18, Art Palacios 12, Derrick Escamilla 5, Taran Perez 4, Sebastian Gonzalez 2, Nicholas Ervin 1
Highlights — Walker 15 rebounds
J.R. Delgado SCAC East Player of the Year
J.R. Delgado was named the South Central Athletic Conference East Player of the Year when the all-league selections were announced.
The senior wing has the Cougars one win away from a regional berth.
Delgado was joined by teammate Adam Richins on the first team. Tanner Skone was second team.
For the girls, Bailey Whitney was first team and Cassidy Turner was second team.