Six-thirty a.m. wake-up call. Check.
Light breakfast at the hotel before a bus ride to the Tacoma Dome. Check.
Send the No. 3 team in the state on an early trip back to Yakima. You better believe it.
Riley Sorn blocked seven shots and scored 13 points, Cole Northrop scored a dozen and dished nine assists and the No. 11 Richland High School boys basketball team extended its stay at the Hardwood Classic on Wednesday morning by knocking off Davis 63-51 in the opening round of the 4A boys state tournament.
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“Maybe there was a little bit of nervousness, but most of us are pretty confident,” said Northrop, a sophomore guard. “We’ve been playing AAU and all of that for a long time together, and so we knew we could get the job done.”
Richland will play defending state champion No. 4 Federal Way at 9 a.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals, and the Bombers are guaranteed to play at least until Friday. Another win would give them their first state placement since taking second in 2014.
The win seemed like a classic one for the Bombers, as they flexed their muscles with a wealth of players who could score the basketball, and made it tough for the Pirates to get anything going in the paint.
Richland’s top back court defender, junior guard Ryan Wagar, picked up his third foul early in the second quarter, but the bench — which hasn’t been utilized much this postseason — was able to pick up the slack.
“The bench was solid, I thought we got good minutes out of everybody off the bench,” Richland coach Earl Streufert said. “Garrett (Streufert) guarded well. Nathan Mitchell, Colby Christensen came in the game and played really solid minutes. Not a lot of minutes, but they gave us really good rotation.
“I don’t like Ryan getting in foul trouble at all, because he’s such an important part of us defensively. But when it happens you’ve gotta roll with it, and I thought they did great.”
The 7-foot-3 — or 7-4 depending on who you’re asking — Sorn swatting away everything in sight didn’t hurt either.
“Riley changes our whole defense,” Northrop said. “They’ve gotta shoot over him, and that makes the other team really uncomfortable.”
The best part of waking up for Cody Sanderson was a 7-0 run he went on early in the first quarter to give the Bombers a 9-4 lead at the mid-point of the period. When Richland struggled to hit anything out of the gates, Sanderson was more than willing to carry the load, scoring 10 points in the opening quarter to give his team a 12-11 advantage at the break.
“I knew they wouldn’t guard me as heavily as like Cole or Tyler,” said Sanderson, who scored 12 points for the game on 5 of 6 shooting. “So that kind of allowed me to let loose a little bit. I just let it go, they got me the ball and I was able to get it going.”
Earl Streufert was all too happy to take advantage of that defensive shortcoming, but continues to be surprised that teams are leaving Sanderson open.
“If Sanderson isn’t in your game plan, you’re crazy,” Streufert said. “The last two weeks of the season, he’s been really phenomenal offensively. And he was very aggressive, especially early in the game.”
Davis opened the second quarter on a 6-2 run to take a 17-14 lead — their biggest of the game — but that was just before the Bombers stars got hot. Sorn, Northrop and Tyler Kurtz scored all 16 of Richland’s points in the last 5:30 of the first half — Davis scored just two — and they led 30-19 at halftime.
“We just got used to playing the game, we’ve never really played on a court like this,” Kurtz said. “And we started getting it inside instead of taking deep shots.”
Richland made just one 3-pointer on six attempts, but shot 67.6 percent from inside the arc. Kurtz scored a team high 14 points and was 6 of 8 from the field.
Richland’s Garrett Streufert went on his own 6-2 run to end the third period with the Bombers up 48-33. Davis was able to string together a couple small spurts in the fourth quarter, but never cut the deficit to single digits. Kurtz streaked down the floor and threw down a two-handed slam dunk with 20 seconds left to cap the scoring.
Richland led for the final 21 minutes.
Alexzander Delgado led the Pirates (19-5) with a game high 21 points and three assists. Davis hasn’t reached the state quarterfinals since winning the 4A title in 2012.
RISE AND SHINE
While most of the Bombers admitted they’d rather be playing at night, they weren’t going to get caught flat footed by the 9 a.m. tipoff.
Streufert said the team practiced at 9 a.m. Saturday and Tuesday, and that he told his players to get up and moving at 8 a.m. Sunday.
The clock readjustment seemed to pay dividends.
“Most of those guys took that to heart, and they were the aggressors right from the get-go,” Streufert said.
THE AIR UP THERE
During his postgame interviews, Streufert kept referring to Sorn as the “7-4 center.” He’s listed at 7-3 on the roster.
“I think he is 7-4,” Streufert said. “On the wall in my office there’s a lot of marks, and the 6-4 guys are here ... and he’s pushing 7-4 I think.”
RICHLAND: Wagar 6, Cody Sanderson 12, Tyler Kurtz 14, Mitchell, Cole Northrop 12, Streufert 6, Riley Sorn 13, Chrsitensen. Totals: 26-43 10-13 63.
DAVIS: Collin Kelley 13, Alexzander Delgado 21, Hooper, Williams 1, Guerrero 8, Gordon 4, Kimble 4. Totals: 21-53 7-13 51.
Highlights — R, Sorn 7 blks; Northrop 9 asts, 4x4 FTs. D, Delgado 3 stls.