KENNEWICK -- The Southridge Suns found a bit of magic in their latest victory on Saturday, a 44-42 home win over Eastmont that clinched a WIAA 3A regional berth.
Senior guard Dallas Jones provided the big moment, getting a shooter's bounce -- several of them, actually -- on the game-winning shot in the final seconds of a game tied at 42.
"We went to a full-court press with 32 seconds left and they turned it over," said Suns coach Jason DeVere. "I told the guys, 'Fellas, we're going to run her down.' They double-teamed Matt (Mendenhall) so Dallas got the ball, dribbled and put up a shot.
"The ball bounced about nine times before it went in."
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Providence might have played a role in the shot falling, but DeVere gave an assist to karma.
"If there's a guy I wanted that to happen to, it's Dallas. He makes me want to go to practice," DeVere said. "He and Dallin Palmer play 32 minutes a night for me. They don't always get rewarded on the score sheet, but as a coach it's sure nice to know what they bring every day."
The win means Southridge (13-10) will face another big challenge against Mercer Island (20-5) at 6 p.m. Friday at Spokane Falls Community College.
The Suns were the biggest team in the CBBN this season, with two players -- Derek Porter and Brad Scott -- at 6-foot-6. But the Islanders will be one of the few teams with a size advantage on Southridge.
Senior center Kaj Sherman stands a towering 6-11, and forward Brian Miller -- a second-team all-league selection -- is 6-7. They've also got 6-5 Quinn Sterling and 6-6 Joe Rasmussen. Guard Derek Newhof (13.1 points a game) leads the team in scoring.
But DeVere thinks his own twin towers will be up to the task.
"Interestingly enough, we haven't faced anybody bigger than us, but I think Brad will be up for the challenge," DeVere said. "His quickness and athletic ability will help nullify the size."
Porter (17.4) and Mendenhall (16.2) lead the Suns in scoring, but Jones, Palmer and Scott will be critical to Southridge's chances against the Islanders.
"We're not going to leave anything in the bag. We've got a couple special things in our zone we might be able to do, some combination-type things," DeVere said. "But we've got to box out and keep them off the boards. That's going to be one of the number one factors."
* Jack Millikin; 509-582-1406; firstname.lastname@example.org