WRHS BOYS BASKETBALL: Sharpshooting White River upsets Lions

Working for a spot in postseason play, White River’s boys basketball squad won two of three games last week, putting the icing on the cake with a 67-58 upset victory at Auburn Mountainview Saturday.

“We actually dictated the game’s pace the whole way, as we played 32 minutes with desire and passion,” Hornet coach Rick Tripp said.

The huge WRHS victory, sparked by the clutch 19 points of sophomore guard Jason Tyler, pushed White River’s South Puget Sound League 3A record to 5-6.

“Our backs were to the wall and we definitely needed to win that game to remain in the playoff hunt,” Tripp said. “If we could have only beaten Clover Park the night before at our place we had a good chance to really solidify a spot.”

The Hornets had fizzled against the Warriors, however, losing 71-47.

Senior guard Chad Sayler made a 3-point buzzer beater from past the midcourt stripe that put the Hornets down by eight points at intermission against Clover Park, but the team couldn’t muster any second-half momentum.

The one silver lining in the Clover Park tilt was provided by senior forward A.J. Rice who notched a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds; he nearly duplicated the effort the next day.

Against the winless Seahawks at Peninsula’s gym Jan. 19, White River reeled in a victory that was mired by a total of 64 turnovers between the two squads.

“It was an ugly W, but we’ll take the wins when we can get them at this point,” said Tripp, who admitted that the unsightly affair’s only highlight was senior Hornet guard Hunter Chadwick, who notched 21 points and 13 rebounds.

White River chugs into choppy waters this week as the Hornets hosted second-place Lakes Tuesday night and travel to equally dangerous Franklin Pierce Friday.

Results from the Lakes matchup came too late to report here, but will be posted at

“If we can play our last five games with the energy we showed against the Lions in hostile territory Saturday night, we just might sneak in to that fifth-place seed, making it to the playoffs after all,” Tripp said. “I just hope the momentum from that big win over the Lions carries over to this week.”

“Hopefully either Lakes’ or Franklin Pierce will take us for granted, but you’re talking about a couple of very seasoned coaches in JoJo Rodriguez (Lakes) and Stan Harris (Franklin Pierce),” Tripp said. “I don’t expect they will let us off the hook that easily, because every game has significance for them as well. They are trying to stay in the race in this tough league, too.”

Tripp is trying to keep his squad relaxed as the season heads into the stretch run.

“I told the kids the other day in practice, ‘don’t kill your chances by letting the pressure get to you. Just play at 110 percent and the rest will most likely take care of itself.’ I believe in these guys.”

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