After walking the tightrope between being a participant in the postseason or not, the White River High boys ended up walking the plank instead.
The Hornets officially ran out of chances with two losses last week.
A never-say-die Bonney Lake squad, itself on the threshold of playoff elimination with a 5-9 league mark, visited the Hornet hardwood Thursday and beat the Buckley boys 42-40.
Bonney Lake’s victory stunned a sizable throng of WRHS faithful on hand to watch the cage war for the fifth and final playoff slot available in the South Puget Sound League 3A, due to the fact that their home team had enjoyed a comfortable advantage for the majority of the contest.
Midway through the fourth quarter, however, Bonney Lake senior guard Chad Marquez pilfered an errant White River pass, going coast-to-coast with a breakaway layin. Marquez was fouled in the midst of making the easy shot and made the Hornets pay from the charity stripe to knot the score at 38 apiece with less than four minutes remaining.
Three minutes elapsed before either squad scored, but White River’s senior post, A.J. Rice, who scored 14 points in the critical meeting, found himself alone in the paint and popped in a 5-footer, making it 40-38 in White River’s favor.
Bonney Lake called timeout with 40 seconds remaining and inbounded the ball to Marquez, who was open just long enough to hit a fadeaway 3-pointer that put the Panthers out front 41-40 and with 12 seconds left, White River used its last timeout.
The Hornets attempted a last-ditch shot that clanged off the iron and after one of BLHS’ seven seniors, Cody Hefford, latched on to the ensuing rebound, a swarm of Hornets mugged him to stop the clock and send him to the foul line. Hefford sealed White River’s fate, as he made one of his two attempts from the stripe to crystalize the final tally at 42-40.
White River entered its final week with a 5-9 league record and already visited Sumner Tuesday night; results of that tilt came too late to report here but will be posted online at www.courierherald.com.
White River will host unbeaten Enumclaw Friday.