SPOKANE VALLEY — Central Valley, the Greater Spokane League regular season champion, showed the heart of a champion here Saturday in GSL/Mid-Columbia Conference District 8 semifinal boys basketball action.
The Bears trailed for three quarters but rallied behind a 27-17 fourth-quarter run to pull out an 84-77 win over Walla Walla High School.
The win improves the Bears to 20-2 on the season and marches them into the District 8 championship battle with Gonzaga Prep, a 68-56 winner over Chiawana, Friday at 9:15 p.m. in Kennewick's Toyota Center. The winner earns the District 8 No. 1 seed to the state tournament.
The Blue Devils, 17-5, drop into a loser-out battle when they host Ferris, a 62-40 winner over Richland Saturday, Tuesday.
Wa-Hi handled the road trip and came out of the first period with a 16-11 lead.
The Blue Devils extended the lead to 34-26 at intermission. The Bears came out of the half on fire, and put up 31 in the third quarter. The Blue Devils didn't melt as they scored 26 and hung onto a 60-57 lead going to the fourth.
The Bears kept scoring and Wa-Hi couldn't keep up. Central Valley put up 27 in the fourth, giving them 58 second-half points total, held the Blue Devils to 17 and came back to pull out the 84-77 win and advance to the title match.
Wa-Hi drained 12 triples in the losing cause. Jacob Coram, nursing a hand injury, led the long range bombers with four from beyond the arc.
Michael Cornia scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Blue Devils. Coram and Dylan Ashbeck each put home 15 for Wa-Hi. Wa-Hi finished with five in double digits as Diego Jaques scored 11 and Dillon Wasser chipped in 10.
Carsen Raab led a balanced Bear attack with 20. Noah Sanders added 15. Jayce Simmons scored 12, and Dylan Darling finished with 11.
The Blue Devil goal is to win three before losing one and qualify for the state 4A tourney. The journey begins Tuesday when the Saxons, 12-10, visit the Blue Devil den.
Bears 84, Blue Devils 77
WA-HI (77) — Ashbeck 15, Wik, Cornia 26, Wasser 10, Jaques 11, Watson, Coram 15, Smith. Totals 27 11-17 77.
CENTRAL VALLEY (84) — Sukut 3, Simmons 12, Clay 6, Darling 11, Sanders 15, Johnson 3, Raab 20, Hoard 8, Gilstrap 6. Totals 29 18-32 84.
3-point goals — WW 12 (Coram 4), CV 8 (Sanders 3). Total fouls - WW 19, CV 17.