GRANDVIEW - Grabbing the lead from the outset and never relinquishing it, the Grandview High School boys basketball team steamrolled the visiting Ephrata Tigers last night, 61-48.
Monday evening's 2A CWAC District tourney opener, a loser-out affair, brings an end to Ephrata's 2011-12 season. Grandview, the CWAC's No. 3 seed into the playoffs, now must play at No. 2 seed Ellensburg this coming Thursday. The Bulldogs and the Greyhounds split their two earlier season match-ups against one another.
The winner of Thursday's game will advance to play the winner of the game between Wapato and Toppenish, played that same night. The winners of the two quarter-final games will play one another this coming Friday at 5 p.m. at West Valley High School. The loser in the game between Grandview and Ellensburg will play in the consolation semi-finals game at West Valley at 1 p.m. this coming Friday. The game will be against the loser of the Wapato/Toppenish game.
"I am excited about where we are at and how the boys are playing right now," said Grandview Coach Roy Garcia.
In avoiding elimination from the postseason last night, Grandview took charge from the get-go. The 'Hounds (14-4, 15-6) stormed out to a 17-7 first-quarter lead and never looked back in burying the visiting Tigers.
The catalysts for the winners included the trio of Isaiah Ruiz, Sal Escobedo and Kiki Mendoza, who together combined for 44 of Grandview's 61 points.
The 'Hounds at one point led by as many as 19 points, 59-40 late in the final period, before Coach Roy Garcia subbed in several reserves, which allowed Ephrata to cut the gap to 61-48.
The only player in double figures for the Tigers was Tyler Clark. He bombed in 4-of-6 from behind the 3-point arc enroute to scorching the net for a team-high 18 points. Tiger teammates Jacob Laird and Michael Clark combined for another 17 points.
Possessing the hot hand for Grandview was Ruiz. He finished with a game-high 20 points by canning 5-of-7 three-point shots and going 5-for-6 from the foul line.
Escobedo and Mendoza, with 12 points apiece, collectively shot at a 53 percent clip from the floor. Mendoza was 4-for-8 from long range, and Escobedo went 5-for-6 in two-point attempts, also nailing both shots he hoisted from the free throw line.
Five of the Greyhounds' 3-point shots were made in the first quarter of the game.
Team-wise, both Grandview and Ephrata made 42 percent of their shots from the floor last night. The telling difference between the two clubs is that the Greyhounds were 11-for-25 from 3-point range, while the Tigers sank just 5-of-13 from behind the arc. Grandview also dropped in three more free throws than did Ephrata last night.
In one of the few games this season Grandview has come out on top in rebounding numbers, the 'Hounds outboarded Ephrata by a 31 to 22 margin. That equated to Grandview scoring 14 second-chance points, compared to the Tigers not getting a single putback to fall. Leading the balanced effort on the boards for Grandview were Escobedo and Mendoza with five and four rebounds, respectively.
Mendoza, too, led his club in finding the open man, dishing a game-best four assists.
Defensively for the Greyhounds, Ruiz and Hector Godinez each came away with three steals. Isaiah Gonzalez added a couple of swipes of his own for Grandview.