Thursday, February 13, 2014/lk
EAST VALLEY – Holey smokes! Just when it looked like Selah had control of last night’s District tournament play-in game, the roof fell in on the Vikings.
With four minutes remaining the Selah girls basketball team had what appeared to be an insurmountable 10-point lead on the Grandview Greyhounds. But as the Vikings found out, whenever senior Marissa Caballero is on the floor, no lead is large enough.
The 5’5” Caballero, nearly single-handedly, fueled a furious comeback that left Selah’s players stunned, looking at a game-ending scoreboard that showed Grandview winning, 26-24.
Wednesday evening’s victory propels the ‘Hounds into the CWAC District tournament as the league’s No. 5 seed. Grandview will open postseason play this coming Saturday at Ephrata, tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. That contest is a loser-out affair.
After losing the heartbreaker to Grandview last night, Selah sustained another late-game crushing blow in the contest that followed against Toppenish. A Wildcat drilled a 3-pointer with under five seconds to play, which gave Toppenish a 33-32 win and the CWAC’s No. 6 seed into the District playoffs.
Grandview, Selah and Top-penish ended the regular season with identical 9-9 league records. Play-in games – consisting of two, eight-minute halves – were staged last night at East Valley High School to determine the CWAC’s final two qualifiers for District.
In grabbing the No. 5 berth to the CWAC District tourney, Grandview got the winning bucket from sophomore Hannah Pond.
Ironically, said GHS Coach David Gibb, the buzzer-beater Pond hit against Selah was the only basket she made last night.
The game was knotted at 24-all when Gibb called a timeout with 16 seconds remaining. The idea, he said, was to draw up a final play. He told the ‘Hounds to chew up all the time on the clock, to play for one last-second shot.
“We called a stack play,” Gibb said.
Inbounding the ball, Breanna Lopez raced to one corner of the floor, Pond curled off the stack and set up at the opposite corner. Caballero ended up with the ball in her hands. Weaving between defenders the senior drove the lane, only to find herself choked off from the basket. Caballero spotted the wide open Pond, dished the ball to her and watched as the sophomore moved in and lofted up an eight-foot floater that found the bottom of the net as the buzzer sounded.
“Marissa made a great decision after Selah blocked her from getting to the basket, to get the ball out to Hannah,” said Gibb.
“It would be great if I could say we drew it up that way,” he laughed.
As spectacular as the late-game heroics were, they wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for Caballero.
Trailing 23-17 with about four minutes left in the mini-game, Caballero penetrated the paint and hit a lay-in. Following a defensive stop, Caballero bombed in a trey to draw the ‘Hounds to within 23-22.
And, it was Caballero who went to the free throw line with just under a minute left, drilling both foul shots to put Grandview ahead, 24-23.
Selah ended up tying the contest at 24-all by hitting 1-of-2 free throws. It was then, with 16 seconds remaining, that Gibb called the timeout and, well, the rest is history.
Caballero ended up as the top scorer in the contest, tallying 15 points in the 16-minute affair.
In looking ahead to Saturday’s loser-out match-up with Ephrata, Gibb said it’s imperative the ‘Hounds get out of the gate quickly.
“We can’t start slow,” he said. “Chances are, the first four minutes are going to set the stage for how the game progresses.”
Grandview and Ephrata split their two CWAC encounters earlier this season. The Greyhounds won the first game back on Dec. 13 by a 58-48 score in Grandview. The Tigers, on their home court on Jan. 18, bested Grandview, 58-49.