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Bickleton swept in league games

The Bickleton boys basketball team showed a little more firepower, but still dropped a couple of league games this past Friday and Saturday.

On Friday the visiting Pirates lost 68-45 to LaSalle.

"We looked a lot better than we had in the past few games," said Coach Ben McBride. "But we just seemed confused on certain points of our offense, especially the third quarter."

Of course, that had something to do with the Lightning, which pressured Bickleton into 14 turnovers for the game.

The Pirates especially struggled in the first and third quarters, when they were outscored by a combined total of 40-10.

"I don't know why we struggled at the beginning of both halves," McBride said. "We were a little slow coming out of the gate."

Tyler Jensen scored 14 points and added three steals to lead Bickleton. Ten of Jensen's points came in the second quarter, when he rallied the Pirates to within 12 of LaSalle.

Eric Hess tallied 12 points to go with a team-high seven rebounds.

Bickleton hosted Trout Lake on Saturday, leading the whole way before losing a 70-67 heartbreaker.

"We led until the last minute," noted McBride. "We had a nine-point lead at one point but they always came back."

The loss spoiled a monster game for Eric Hess, who scored 25 points and hauled down 16 rebounds.

"That was the best game I've seen him play," McBride said.

Bickleton gradually built up its lead, going up by one after one quarter, then taking a six-point edge at halftime.

By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the Pirate advantage was seven.

But Trout Lake's advantage at the free throw line, including 20 charity tosses in the fourth quarter, proved to be Bickleton's undoing.

That and Trout Lake's Justin Holly.

"We couldn't seem to stop him," McBride said of Holly, who poured in 29 points.

But Holly did the biggest damage on defense, turning the tide with less than a minute to play in the game.

Leading 67-66, Bickleton had the ball and time on its side as the clock dipped below a minute to play.

Holly stole the ball and went the other way for two to suddenly put Trout Lake up by two.

Bickleton couldn't answer then had to foul in the final seconds. Trout Lake missed the free throw attempt, but rebounded and scored to make it a 70-67 game.

"After that we couldn't even get a shot up because there were so few seconds remaining," McBride said.

"We just didn't finish up the game," the coach observed. "That's something we really need to be able to do as a team."

The Bickleton loss and Trout Lake win put both teams in a third-place tie for the final District playoff berth.

The Pirates (1-5, 3-10) travel to Goldendale this Tuesday to take on the Timberwolves' JV team.

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