EAST WENATCHEE — Most teams don’t come back from three-point halftime deficits by scoring 20 more points in the second half than their opponents score in the entire game.
Clearly the Eastmont Wildcats aren’t most teams.
The Wildcats showed how explosive they can be by doing just that in a 68-33 win over Moses Lake on Friday night.
After a cold-shooting first half (17.2 percent) left it trailing 18-15, Eastmont (11-1 overall, 7-0 Big Nine) shot 80 percent from the floor to outscore the Chiefs 53-18 after the break and keep their perfect league record intact.
Eastmont coach Mike Waters said he based his halftime speech around one of the team’s main goals this season — “Find a way” — to get the players out of their first-half funk.
“Out of all these times, it most needs to be said now — find a way,” Waters said. “We did (in the second half) what we typically do. We shot out of our minds. Talk about an explosion in the second half.
“In the third quarter we got it to 15 (point lead), and I called a timeout and said ‘This is why we’re undefeated. This kind of effort.’”
The Wildcats’ full-court pressure frustrated the Chiefs (3-4 Big Nine) after halftime, allowing their offense to get out and run.
“We harped on the defense. The defense will start our offense,” Waters said. “We never took our foot off the pedal.”
Trea Thomas had a game-high 30 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter, and six assists to lead Eastmont.
Dalin McDonnell and Kai Spencer added 12 points apiece, all coming in the second half. Spencer hit three of the Wildcats’ four 3-pointers in the third quarter to spur on a 26-4 run to open the second half, and McDonnell had 10 points in the final frame.
McDonnell also had 10 rebounds and four steals, and J.J. Jahr pitched in five assists and three steals.
Moses Lake made just 21.4 percent of its shots in the second half after making 40 percent before halftime.
The Wildcats, who are already down to nine players on the roster after losing forward Jeremy Adams for an extended period of time due to a clavicle injury last week, suffered another scare when forward Devin Schall awkwardly rolled his ankle in the second quarter. Schall was walking without crutches after the game, but his status is uncertain for Saturday’s contest at Wenatchee.
Moses Lake 58, Eastmont 51
Moses Lake (6-1 Big Nine) won the turnover battle 15-3 to defeat the Wildcats (4-3).
The Chiefs never trailed, but they had to respond to a 9-2 Eastmont run that tied the game at 21-21 in the second quarter. The Chiefs answered with an 11-2 run of their own, and they never let the game get any closer than five points from there.
“(The Chiefs) play smart at times when they need to, and sometimes we get amped up when we need to slow down,” Eastmont coach Tessa Bromiley said. “(In the second quarter) they just started adjusting to the defense we were in and hitting their shots.”
Eastmont’s guards had a rough shooting night against the long and athletic Chiefs.
“Their pressure defense (was tough). They’re quick,” Bromiley said. “They’re good at playing match-up one-on-one defense.”
Post Savannah Jackson was a bright spot for the Wildcats with a team-high 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Nikki Gilbert added 11 points and Kylie Buterbaugh scored 10.
Moses Lake was led by McKenna Walker (14 points), Kaitlyn Stevens (11) and Sadie Nielsen (10).