For the first time since the 2003-04 season, the Kiona-Benton boys basketball team is headed to the Sweet 16.
The Bears defeated Connell 49-34 on Thursday at River View High in Finley in a District 5 Tournament elimination game.
The win guarantees a spot in the Class 1A regionals, and a game against Columbia (Burbank) on Saturday to determine the No. 3 and 4 seeds.
Big time excited, Kiona-Benton coach Jack Rose said of his team. We got the monkey off our back. Last year we were the No. 1 seed and we didnt get there. We have six seniors and we are really excited.
Kiona-Benton (17-7) used a big second quarter to blow Thursdays game open, outscoring Connell 17-9 in the period.
Cristian Aguilar scored six of his 10 points in the second, hitting two 3-pointers.
We were hitting our outside shots, said Rose, whose team made five 3-pointers. That didnt happen (in the loss) against Granger the other night. The defense was good all game, we just hit some outside baskets.
Mick Phelps added 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Bears, while Nate Christensen grabbed six boards.
Stefan Davidsons 13 points led Connell, which saw its season come to an end with the loss.
KIONA-BENTON A. Cortez 7, T. Cortez 6, Cisneros 4, Garcia 7, Aguilar 10, Soloreano 3, Phelps 10, Christensen 2.
CONNELL Davidson 13, Chase 6, Holst 4, Taylor 9, Hopkins 2.
Kiona-Benton 8 17 14 10 49
Connell 8 9 8 9 34
Highlights Mick Phelps 14 rebounds, Christensen 6 rebounds, Aguilar 3 steals, 5 rebounds.
Columbia (Burbank) 40, Naches Valley 35: The second half was unlike anything Todd Schumacher had ever seen.
The Columbia head coach watched as his Coyotes full-court press wore down the visiting Rangers, leading to a 12-minute scoreless drought for Naches Valley from early in the third quarter to late in the game.
They looked in control at halftime, Schumacher said. In the second half, its like the gong went off and our intensity level went to a new height. Our press does that to teams. It wears them down and shots stop falling and they start turning it over due to being tired.
Justin McBrides 12 points led the Coyotes offensively, while Chris Ryckman added nine points.
But it was the defense that was the story of the night.
The Rangers hit a 3-pointer early in the third quarter and then didnt score again until they trailed by 10 with 2 minutes left in the game.
The victory gives the Coyotes a spot in the regional playoffs.
Anytime you are in the final 16 teams playing it is very exciting, Schumacher said.
COLUMBIA (BURBANK) Justin McBride 12, Wattenberger, Koopman 2, Boulds 3, Barajas, Miller 8, Romm 6, Ryckman 9.
NACHES VALLEY Upton, Williams, Swain 2, Caillier, Martin 12, Whorton 4, Wells, Cameron Walker 15, Callaghan 2.
Columbia (Burbank) 6 7 7 20 40
Naches Valley 6 15 3 11 35