RICHLAND — Just two seconds remained in what would result in a 54-44 Richland boys basketball victory over Chiawana at Art Dawald Gym, and Grant Gallinger was faced with a dilemma.
Hold or shoot.
With the Bombers running out the final few seconds of the game they had already cinched, Gallinger took a pass deep on the left baseline with no defender in sight and an itchy trigger finger.
The 6-foot-2 senior guard put the cherry on top, swishing a long jumper at the buzzer, adding a touch of sweetness to a Bombers' victory that avenged a 91-87 overtime loss at Chiawana in early January.
You could say he deserved it, too, after finishing with 10 rebounds and a game-high 19 points.
"Coach always tells us to play out the game until the end," Gallinger said. "We expected them to come at us just as hard as we were coming at them."
Richland coach Earl Streufert called it one of the Bombers' "top three or four" defensive performances he's seen since he took over as coach in 1999.
"It was kind of a burr in our saddle that we didn't defend better against them last time," he said, recalling a 44-point night from 'Hawks guard Justin Smith. "I was happy with our communication and intensity on defense. One of the things we've been grinding on was rebounding, and we did a great job tonight."
The Bombers outrebounded Chiawana 42-33, including a dominating night from Calvin Douglas that included 16 rebounds and five blocked shots.
"A great night from Calvin. I'd ride that horse anytime," Streufert said. "Gallinger was a real leader. He was locked in a real physical battle. One thing he did was make other players better."
Gallinger was on the receiving end of one of the prettier plays of the night late in the fourth quarter. Douglas fired a pass from the high post into J.J. Patterson, who was cutting into the lane. But Patterson, coming in from the right, saw Gallinger slicing in from the left baseline and tipped a pass to him underneath the basket for a reverse layin that made it 49-34.
"J.J. has amazing vision," Gallinger said. "I was hoping he would see me on the cut."
The first three quarters were surprisingly lopsided thanks to Richland's smothering man-to-man defense that held the Riverhawks (13-4, 8-1 CBBN 4A) to just 24 percent (13-of-54) shooting.
Chiawana took a 6-4 lead four minutes into the game after a Miquiyah Zamora steal and Jordan Downing bucket, but the Bombers finished the quarter on an 8-0 run and never looked back.
The Bombers (12-4, 5-3) built a 41-22 lead heading into the fourth quarter, and were well on their way to handing Chiawana its worst loss of the year -- which remains a 76-62 mid-December loss at Post Falls, Idaho.
"Richland started the game at 7:30 and we started at 8:30. They played an outstanding game defensively," said Riverhawks coach Chad Herron after his team suffered its first league loss. "They were jump-switching Justin really hard. They crowded him all night."
Smith scored just two points through the first three quarters but helped lead a fourth-quarter comeback during which Chiawana outscored Richland 22-13. Buddy Walter added eight of his team-high 14 points during the quarter.
Lucas Graff drilled an NBA-range 3-pointer with 59 seconds left to cut the Bombers' lead to 52-44, but in the end, the Riverhawks couldn't overcome such a big early cushion.
"Their help-side defense was a lot better this time," Walter said. "I felt like we could come back on them, but it's tough playing scramble defense. You give up too many open layups."
CHIAWANA -- Downing 6, Buddy Walter 14, Zamora 8, Smith 9, Knight 2, Lopaya 2, Graff 3, DeWitt. Totals 13-54 16-20 44.
RICHLAND -- Turner 4, Baker 8, Grant Gallinger 19, Quick 9, Douglas 10, Patterson 4, Burke, Lakes, Imhoff. Totals 16-41 19-26 54.
Chiawana 6 9 7 22 -- 44
Richland 12 14 15 13 -- 54
Highlights -- Rebounds: C 33 (Zamora 10, Downing 7), R 42 (Douglas 16, Gallinger 10); 3-pointers: C 2-15 (Walter, Graff), R 3-13 (Baker 2); Turnovers: C 13, R 16; Zamora 5 steals, Walter 4 steals; Douglas 5 blocks; Turner 4 assists.