PASCO -- The Chiawana boys basketball team needed a little help this week to have any hope of securing its first CBBN 4A basketball title.
The Riverhawks were a half game behind first-place Davis in the league standings and needed the Pirates to lose one of their final three games.
But even that was a tall order, considering Davis -- the CBBN Columbia Division champion in 2010 -- played two of its final three games at home against Richland and Eisenhower.
But Chiawana (13-5, 8-2 CBBN 4A) got a gift from an unlikely source Tuesday, when Moses Lake (7-11, 4-6) shocked visiting Davis 81-79 in overtime, dropping the Pirates (15-3, 8-2) into a tie with the Riverhawks for first place.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Tri-City Herald
"That was a shock to the system. What can you say?" said Chiawana coach Chad Herron, who won Big Nine league titles at Pasco in 2003, 2005 and 2007. "It couldn't have happened in a bigger week."
Matt Franz, who took over the CBBN scoring lead this week, scored a season-high 32 points for the Chiefs, who may have taken advantage of Davis' lack of size in the paint.
"There's no doubt about it, with Moses Lake's overall team length, their zone can be rather imposing," Herron said. "If you're not shooting well, most likely you're not going to get any second shots."
That loss makes tonight a big one for the Riverhawks, who will play their final two games on the road at Eisenhower and Walla Walla.
But Herron also will keep an eye on the Richland at Davis result in Yakima.
"Richland's not going to back down. They defend well on any given night and can score with anybody," Herron said.
Davis will finish its season at home against Wenatchee on Saturday, while the Bombers will face Moses Lake at Art Dawald Gym to finish the regular season.
If the Riverhawks and Pirates finish the regular season in a first-place tie, with the teams splitting their two regular-season matchups, Chiawana would earn the No. 1 seed based on a number draw earlier in the season.
* The Bombers (14-4, 7-3) will play out the remainder of their season without a pair of bench players who were suspended 30 days for a violation of Richland's athletic code after attending a party after a 57-44 win over Chiawana last Friday.
Richland coach Earl Streufert confirmed two players were suspended, but did not mention their names.
However, in Tuesday's 81-40 win over Wenatchee, senior guards Bob Imhoff and J.J. Patterson -- who regularly are in the team's rotation -- did not play. Patterson has averaged 5.7 points over 16 games, while Imhoff, who also did not play Saturday, averaged 3.9 points over 16 games.
"There are a lot of ways to learn lessons. Sometimes when you break the rules, you learn there are consequences," Streufert said. "When things like this happen, teams have a tendency to get closer together. We'll have to work a little harder, but we've got some good players in the wings ready to go."
Chiawana senior guard Kyler DeWitt (5.9 points, 17 games) was also suspended for the remainder of the winter season, also for a violation of the athletic code. DeWitt reportedly attended the same party.
-- Hanford junior guard Bear Braich will miss the rest of the season after tearing ligaments in his right thumb after diving for a loose ball during the Falcons' 57-50 win over Sunnyside on Tuesday.
Braich, who wanted to come back in the game despite a gruesome dislocation of the thumb just before halftime, was Hanford's top perimeter threat.
The 6-foot-2 junior averaged 11.1 points a game for the Falcons (8-10, 7-5), who are tied for second place in the CBBN 3A with Southridge (9-9, 7-5) behind fourth-ranked Kamiakin (17-1, 12-0).
"It doesn't help us. He's a terrific kid," Falcons coach Paul Mayer said. "He's disappointed. He obviously wants to play."
* Jack Millikin; 509-582-1406; email@example.com