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Luckier than I deserve...

I got the pleasure of attending yet another humdinger of a boys basketball game tonight — Southridge's 49-47 CBBN 3A win over Hanford in Kennewick.

It took a while do develop. Hanford trailed 24-10 at one point midway through the second quarter, but they fought all the way back to within two points with just over a minute left in regulation. Southridge pulled it out thanks to some gutsy defense at the end and a big-time finishing effort by center Brad Scott.

But I'm thinking back on some of the other games I've covered this year and realizing I've been pretty damn lucky to be in the building for some truly incredible finishes.

Take last night, for instance. I was there for Chiawana's 91-87 overtime win over Richland, a game that fans should remember for a long time for several different reasons but mainly for Justin Smith's career-high 44 points. It was one of the few times you'll see a game in which neither team really made any key mistakes. Instead, both teams just went at each other's throats — in a good way — all night.

I remember watching Chiawana post Jordan Downing heading towards Richland post Calvin Douglas in the pregame warmups and playfully bumping him from behind. Douglas was smiling at the time, but I'm sure he knew the battle they were both in for over the next 40 minutes.

After it was done, KONA's outstanding play-by-play man Michael McDonnal said he was lucky to be able to call one of those a season.

But that wasn't even the best finish I've seen this season.

That honor belongs to Pasco, which came back from a 21-point deficit on Dec. 17 to beat Kennewick 49-48 on a last-second shot by Julian Figueroa. Now it's not going to be an easy year for Charlie Villanueva's Bulldogs — they've won just one of their first nine games — but they can hang their hat on that win for a while. It was one for the ages.

So anybody thinking that high school basketball just isn't as exciting as it used to be, I'm here to tell you that's just not true. Now maybe the crowds used to be bigger, but that's hardly the fault of today's players. They love the game just as much as their predecessors did, and the coaches are as passionate as ever about the game.

Try watching a Kamiakin-Richland boys matchup and tell me that isn't the case.

So here's my advice: Pick up a copy of the Tri-City Herald every Friday and pick a game. Heck, pick one on Saturday, too. The more the merrier.

Maybe you'll be there for the next amazing finish.

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