Half of the games the White River boys basketball squad had lost this season were to South Puget Sound League 2A rival Sumner High.
So, when the Hornets finally managed to defeat the Spartans 49-42 in a subdistrict seeding contest Saturday evening at Foster High, it pushed their overall record to 18-4. No White River boys basketball team has won that many games, before postseason play, since the cage crew that went to the state tournament in the mid-1990s.
“The only thing we did a little better against the Spartans than we had done in our previous two meetings was handle their press more proficiently,” coach Rick Tripp said. “We also shot 40 percent from the field instead of the nightmarish 20 percent we shot against the Spartans in their gym in that lousy last regular season game of the year.”
In its most recent conflict with Sumner, White River had fallen behind 22-19 at intermission but began to catch fire in the third period and tied the contest at 32 apiece heading into the final eight minutes of play.
White River outscored the Spartans 18-10 in the fourth frame to finally sack its vaunted valley adversary.
The rough patches may be behind the Hornets now though as they journey into the Class 2A district scene. White River took on Renton Tuesday night in a loser-out clash.
If White River defeated the Indians and avoided elimination, the Hornets will face Sequim at 6 p.m. Thursday at Lakes. The winner of that battle will punch its ticket to the Class 2A state tournament in Yakima, but the loser will be forced to dip into the loser’s bracket and win three straight in order to earn a state berth.