TACOMA - The streak is still alive. Twelve times the Grandview High School boys basketball team has been to the State tournament and 12 times the team has taken home hardware.
"I'm very proud of this team," Grandview Coach Scott Parrish said. "They exceeded all of my expectations. To win our league and then the District championships, I'm very proud.
"This season the kids dug down and found a way to win some games we probably shouldn't have. I'm extremely happy for them for keeping the streak alive."
It took some doing. After beating West Valley of Spokane the Greyhounds had to beat league foe Wapato last Friday to get an opportunity to play for a trophy. The two teams split during the regular season, with Wapato winning the first game 63-51 and Grandview taking the second in overtime, 64-62.
Neither the Greyhound players nor the coaches talked much about Grandview's streak of 11-out-of 11 state trophies, but it was in all of their heads.
Grandview jumped to an early lead in the first quarter against Wapato thanks to a Nick Sears three-point shot followed by a C.J. Lopez three-point shot, but the Wolves fought back and tied the game at six with a Erik Martinez lay-up.
Sears gave the Greyhounds the lead again with a lay-up and Grandview took an 11-10 into the second quarter.
Behind Lavell Harris and Jim Smiscon, Wapato made a run in the second quarter, outscoring Grandview 10-4, to take a 20-15 lead into halftime.
It was in the second half that Sears and A.J. Valencia took over. Sears had only scored three points in the first half, the first basket of the game, but came alive to drop in 13 points in the second half. Valencia had four points in the first half but woke up in the second to score 10.
Behind the scoring of those two Grandview fought back and took the lead, 23-22, with 5:14 left in the third period. Two more Sears lay-ups and Grandview was ahead 27-22.
Still, Wapato would not die. Harris scored six straight points for the Wolves and Wapato found themselves ahead 28-27 to start the fourth period.
It was a see-saw battle after that, with neither team allowing the other to take command. The game went down to the wire. Grandview had a 38-36 lead when Logan Thomas attempted a shot for Wapato to tie the game with 28 seconds left and missed. Harris immediately fouled Zach Poteet, who sank one of his two free throws to put the Greyhounds up by three points.
Wapato then attempted a three-point shot that missed and the Wolves were forced to foul again with just 15 seconds left. Grandview made its free throws to win the game 42-36 and advance to the fifth/eighth place game on Saturday.
"I'm pretty proud of these guys," Parrish said after the win.
"They (Wapato) had a lot of fight in them. We knew it would come down to the end and who could make their free throws."
Sears explained his second half outburst.
"I stayed low inside and they (his teammates) got me the ball," he said. "In the first half Wapato wasn't letting C.J. or A.J. shoot any three's."
He said Grandview took advantage of Wapato staying outside and the Greyhounds kept feeding Sears the ball inside for shots.
"We knew we had to win," he added. "We wanted a trophy. Coach didn't talk about it but we knew."
The win moved Grandview into the trophy game against East Valley of Yakima on Saturday. Grandview had beaten the Red Devils three times this season, twice during the regular season and then in the District championship game. But it's hard to beat a good team four times in a row and this would prove the case as East Valley scored 32 points in the fourth quarter and beat the Greyhounds 70-56 to earn fifth place honors.
Things were looking OK for Grandview in the first half with the Greyhounds holding a 28-27 lead after two.
That was due to Sears, who had 17 points in the first half. Valencia chipped in six points, Frankie Medina had three and Poteet had two.
The Red Devils completely shut down the outside shooting of Lopez and Valencia in the opening half.
"I couldn't get an open shot," Lopez said. "They played a zone and their guards are very quick and well coached."
Due to foul trouble, Sears spent some time on the bench in the second half before fouling out in the fourth. The Wolves limited him to just four points in the second half. Valencia improved his output though, scoring 16 points in the second half to keep Grandview close.
The teams fought to a 38-38 tie to start the fourth quarter and then East Valley's three-point shooters got hot.
Nate Morales hit a three-pointer to start the fourth for the Red Devils. Then Josh Hansen hit two three-point shots in a row and the Red Devils were up 47-43.
West Valley's Kevin Komstadius scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half to help propel the Red Devils past Grandview.
With the score 50-48 in favor of East Valley, the Red Devils went on a 7-0 run before the Greyhounds could score again.
East Valley then added a 9-3 run and the game was all but over.
"It just wasn't our day," Poteet said. "It was very physical down there. Komstadius is a very good player, you have to give him the credit."
"East Valley made us do some things we're not used to doing," Parrish said. "Our shots weren't falling. The East Valley coach made some nice adjustments at halftime and we didn't respond to them."
Steve Elder, coach of the Red Devils, said his team wanted to play hard, smart and together and leave everything on the court.
"We had some kids step up and hit some shots late in the game," he said. "The biggest difference today was we established the zone and the break. We had more rhythm. When we can establish that we're a little bit better team than we've shown in the past."
Elder made it clear he didn't out coach Parrish.
"He's the best coach in our league," he said. "His kids missed some shots and we made some plays.
"Both teams are taking home trophies today and that's good for our league. The people of Grandview should be proud," Elder said.