The end of the trail finally came Saturday for White River High boys basketball.
During the Class 2A district hoop tournament, staged at Foss, Sumner cruised to an easy, 74-54 triumph over White River to put it all to rest.
Upon reaching the subdistrict rigors and finally getting out from under the yoke of the exhausting South Puget Sound League 2A slate, White River seemed intent on not losing again on their march toward the state hoop tournament.
The Hornets stung Tyee 50-47 Feb. 10, whipped Sequim 48-43 Feb. 12 and edged Olympic 61-60 Feb. 16 to make it three straight right out of the postseason gate.
The conquest over Olympic will likely be remembered as one of the school’s great come-from-behind victories.
Intermission found White River trailing the Trojans by 17 points. Eventually, White River carved that lead to 10 points by the end of the third period and with two minutes left the score was close at 58-57 Olympic.
White River center Nicco Wolfskill buried a clutch 15-foot jumper with 12 seconds remaining to put White River up 59-58, then Olympic’s best player rolled down the floor and was fouled in the act of shooting. He made both free throws to furnish Olympic with a 60-59 advantage.
Hornet coach Rick Tripp told his troops to race down the court and try to either score or draw a foul. The plan worked, as guard Alex Sayler was fouled with 0.7 seconds remaining.
Sayler calmly drained both of the attempts from the charity stripe and that was the ball game, as the Trojans had no time left to do anything but inbound the ball at half court and throw up a prayer.
Then however, it was back to the SPSL 2A for White River as 13-1 Clover Park was next on the Hornets dance card. The Warriors annihilated White River at Curtis High Friday night 61-39 on the eve of the big game with well-rested rival Sumner High.
“Our older guys played as much as they could, especially in these last five important play-off games when Billy Kiel, Jason Tyler and Nicco Wolfskill had been playing 30 out of 32 minutes in all of those games,” Tripp said. “But the lineup we had in there against Clover Park at the end of the game consisted of a junior, two sophomores and two freshman.”
Tripp also pondered exactly how much his squad would have in the tank the next day against Sumner. They didn’t unload the bus until 11 p.m. Friday night from the onslaught against Clover Park and had an all-aboard bus call the next morning at 9:30 for the scheduled high noon engagement against Sumner.
The Hornets ended the season at 10-15 overall.