KENNEWICK -- The Kennewick boys basketball team had to be smarting a bit heading into Saturday's CBBN 3A matchup against Eastmont.
The Lions had lost four of their last five games, including a tough swallow against crosstown rival Southridge on Friday.
But with Saturday's 64-59 victory over the Wildcats, Kennewick can put the regular season completely behind them.
A new season begins anew next Friday, as the Lions (9-11) broke a three-way tie for fourth place in the standings to grab the No. 4 seed to the district playoffs and a first-round home playoff game against West Valley (8-12) at 7 p.m.
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Eastmont (10-10) inherits the No. 6 district seed and will travel to No. 3 Hanford (9-11) on Friday at 7 p.m.
"With the logjam in the standings, it was important to get a little momentum and a first round home game," said Kennewick coach Bradyn Leyde. "Our guys played really hard. This is definitely a blue-collar team."
Lions junior Bryce Leavitt scored eight of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter, hitting five of his final six shots from the floor -- most of them in heavy traffic.
The 6-4 guard spun into the lane for a soft floater to give Kennewick a 57-52 lead with 2:33 left in the game. Eastmont guard Darren Spaeth answered back with a layin a minute later to cut the lead, but Leavitt attacked the lane again, this time with a one-handed running jumper to push it back to 60-56.
"Usually, at the end of the game, I'll get the ball up top, and coaches give me the green light to either shoot or pass," said Leavitt, who added 10 rebounds.
"We have to work on calming him down sometimes," said Leyde.
From there, Kennewick held Eastmont to just 1-of-5 shooting over the final 1:10, and Lions forward Stetson Plew hit 3 of 4 free throws in the last 34 seconds to secure the win. Plew also came up big defensively with 13 rebounds, including six in the fourth quarter alone.
Grady Gausman hit four 3-pointers for the Wildcats and attempted a final trey with 13 seconds left that would have pulled Eastmont to within 63-62. But the shot rimmed out and Plew snagged the rebound. Gausman paced his team with 17 points.
The Wildcats didn't help their cause by hitting 15 of 28 free throws, but the Lions were even worse from the stripe at 13-for-25.
"You can shoot in the 40s and withstand that, but you have to hit your free throws," said Easmont coach Mike Waters.
Grady Gausman 17, Jahr 2, Spaeth 10, Thomas 13, McDonnell 3, Huguenin 2, Sagdal 10, Fagg 2, Sauileone. Totals 19-52 15-28 59.
Pocasangre 10, Bryce Leavitt 22, Sordahl 4, Clinton 9, McKenzie 4, Ramos 3, Domach 8, Plew 4, Smith. Totals 25-54 13-25 64.
Eastmont 13 12 16 18 -- 59
Kennewick 16 18 14 16 -- 64
Highlights -- Rebounds: E 27 (Sagdal 9), K 37 (Plew 13); 3-pointers: E 6x19 (Gausman 4), K 1x9 (Pocasangre); Leavitt 3 assists, 2 steals.