MOSES LAKE -- The Moses Lake girls basketball team has advanced to the last three state tournaments, but to make it four in a row, the Chiefs have a tough road ahead.
Moses Lake was in first place of CBBN 4A for nearly half the regular season, but suffered losses at Chiawana and Richland and then lost to the Bombers in the regular season finale Saturday.
Moses Lake plays host to Davis at 7 p.m. today in an elimination game, the kind of pressure with which the Chiefs have a lot of experience.
"We need to be able to use that to our advantage," Moses Lake coach Matt Strophy said. "Our major players have all been through this."
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Moses Lake lost in the first round of the district playoffs last season but came through the backdoor to earn a regional playoff berth en route to the state tournament.
Seniors Jordan Loera, Kayla Bernsen and Magie Munoz were key players on last season's team, while Sadie Nielsen, Courtney Kunjara and Kyleigh Gamez played on that team as well.
"It is just a matter of winning the right games; that is where our focus is right now," Strophy said.
Moses Lake swept Davis during the regular season, winning by nearly 40 at home and by 13 on the road.
"They have to be one of the most improved teams in the league," Strophy said. "They have three freshman that play significant minutes that will just continue to get better.
"I think that was part of the reason the gap narrowed in our games."
Also, the Chiefs struggled from the field, not scoring for the first four minutes of the game at Davis.
If Moses Lake gets past Davis, the Chiefs will face a rested Richland team.
Despite the two losses to the Bombers, Strophy said his team is confident it can defeat Richland.
"If we can clean up our power game inside of five feet and our free-throw game, we have the ability to win," Strophy said. "Of course, you don't win on paper. You actually have to go do it."
CBBN 3A: While Southridge, Kennewick and Pasco were duking it out all week, West Valley and Hanford sat around preparing for playoff basketball without knowing their opponents.
The matchups are now set, and the games are nearly here for the rested Rams and Falcons.
"We are more worried about us and executing our stuff," Hanford coach Evan Woodward said. "It's always nice to know earlier, but I don't think it adds any stress."
Hanford swept Kennewick during the regular season, but the Falcons must guard against letdowns that happened during the year. Hanford hammered Sunnyside on the road and then lost at home, the Grizzlies' only win of the season.
"Hopefully that doesn't happen again," Woodward said. "We have to get ready."
* Craig Craker: 509-582-1509; firstname.lastname@example.org