Joe Wirtzberger may have attended and coached at Columbia-Burbank High School, but he led Kiona-Benton to a piece of girls basketball history Monday night in Benton City.
The Bears (16-4, 11-1 SCAC East) coach led Ki-Be to its first-ever league championship with a 58-45 win over Columbia-Burbank. Cierra Torp led all scorers with 21 points, and Yesenia Torres and Bailey Schroeder combined for 23 to give the Bears the offense they needed.
"Last year we lost (the league title) to Connell by one game. We had never dealt with that pressure. This year, no matter what people have done, we've been through it all," Wirtzberger said. "When I got here, these girls were in sixth grade. They had to buy into a new system and a new coach, but they did it. They put in the work."
The Coyotes (6-14, 5-7) jumped ahead 15-7 in the first quarter, but Ki-Be finished strong, outscoring Burbank 22-9 in the fourth to break a 36-all tie.
The Bears will play host to Zillah, the No. 4 seed out of the SCAC West in the first round of the district playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Coyotes finished fifth in the SCAC East and will not qualify for districts.
COLUMBIA-BURBANK -- Martinez 1, Aguilar 12, Lott, Dixon, Cotsford 1, Magallon 3, Calzadillas, Harley McBride 14, Mosqueda 13.
KIONA-BENTON -- Henrich, Torres 13, Vickerman 6, Torp 21, Schroeder 10, Brown 8, Morgan, Haughton, Schuster, Watts.
Columbia-Burbank 15 8 13 9 -- 45
Kiona-Benton 7 15 14 22 -- 58