WHITE SALMON - The handwriting may have already been on the wall before the Bickleton and Lyle/Wishram boys basketball teams took the court last night in White Salmon.
The Pirates, having already faced Lyle/Wishram three times this season and coming up short in all three encounters, had to knock off the Cougars last night to keep their 2012-13 season alive. The challenge proved too stiff for Bickleton, as Lyle/Wishram prevailed once again, 59-40.
Tuesday evening's loss in the Greater Columbia 1B League District tournament brings an end to Bickleton's season. The Pirates can take some comfort, though, in knowing they're sailing a course that indicates they're righting a ship that has been in disrepair for several years. In tallying the final win-loss record for this season, Bickleton can point with pride to its 6-4 conference mark and its 13-10 overall record.
For Lyle/Wishram, the Cougs now must take on the unenviable task of trying to beat league champion Sunnyside Christian in the District title game later this week. And, the Cougars must step onto the court against Sunnyside Chrisitian, as did the Bickleton players last night, knowing that they've already fallen to the Knights three times this season.
In defeating a gutsy Bickleton squad last night the Cougars relied on their shooting prowess. Team-wise, Lyle/Wishram shot at a 44 percent clip from the field, making 23-of-52 shots. Those numbers included going 5-for-11 from 3-point land.
Individual statistics for Lyle/Wishram were not readily available after the game.
The Cougars' defensive efforts were nearly as impressive. Lyle/Wishram, forcing the Pirates into committing 25 turnovers while outboarding its opponents by a 41 to 32 margin, limited Bickleton to just 30 percent field goal shooting (15-for-50). Especially damaging was the Pirates' 5-for-27 performance from behind the 3-point arc.
The one, and only, Pirate who found solid footing on the floor last night was senior Mitchell Powers. He went off for a team-high 18 points, which included knocking down 4-of-12 from treyland. The 5'11" senior also was 2-for-2 from the foul line, and positioned himself in the paint to come away with six rebounds.
Powers' younger brother, Nate - only a freshman - ended up as Bickleton's second leading scorer last night. But, the underclassman's 9-point effort came on a paltry 3-for-15 effort from the field, 11 of those attempts coming from behind the 3-point line, and only landing one of them.
The two other Pirates who had any numbers of note included seniors Justin Roberts and Taylor Brown. They shared team-high rebounding honors with nine apiece, and combined for 11 points.