White River Hornets play Anacortes in first round of state boys basketball tournament

Under the guidance of coach Rick Tripp, the Hornet boys are making their second Yakima trip in three seasons. The 2012 adventure was particularly successful, as White River defeated North Thurston, Ellensburg and Lindbergh on the way to a championship showdown with Lynden. The finale didn’t go the Hornets’ way, but the team rode home with second-in-state honors.

Last year’s crew made the Sweet 16 but lost in the regional round, missing out on a SunDome appearance.

This week, the Hornet boys play the first tourney game, tipping off at 3:45 Thursday afternoon against Anacortes.

Anacortes heads to Yakima with a season mark of 19-5. The Seahawks won the Northwest Conference with a 10-2 record and took four of five postseason games, including a 78-34 thrashing of Fife in the Sweet 16 regional round.

White River enters on quite a roll, having won all seven postseason games, putting an exclamation point on a 13-7 regular season.

The most recent victory was Saturday’s regional triumph over River Ridge, a game that really wasn’t as close as the final 20-point margin indicated. The Hornets built a slim lead after the initial eight minutes, but pushed their advantage to 35-22 by halftime. A 26-point outburst in the third quarter put the game on ice.

White River was led by Brandon Dove, who finished with a game-high 22 points. Exploiting the Hawks’ weak inside defense, Dove converted five layins during the final three minutes of the third period.

Spencer Swigart also lit up River Ridge defenders, but did most of his damage from the outside. On the way to a 20-point night, Swigart buried five 3-point bombs.

Brandon Garvin also had a big night, especially in the late going, finishing with 17 points.

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