BREWSTER — Justin Rivas might be the quickest player in the Caribou Trail League, which is why he’s so good at getting back in transition for easy layup opportunities.
The Okanogan guard entered the Bulldogs’ Tuesday game against Brewster second in the league in scoring, and against the Bears he demonstrated how he’s been able to rack up a large share of his points this season.
In the Bulldogs’ 59-44 win, Rivas scored 23 points, 10 of which came off transition. When the Bulldogs also have their inside game working, as they did Tuesday (posts Justin VanderWeide and Jim Townsend combined for 22 points) and play their normally solid defense, it’s easy to see why they’ve sustained just one loss, have been ranked in the Associated Press 1A state poll for the entire season and have clinched at least a share of the CTL title.
“Coach (Mike Carlquist) told us that we’re the best team he’s ever coached (in terms of) sharing the ball,” Rivas said. “Sharing the ball and rebounding has been key for us all season. (Tuesday), we were able to get out on the fast break and move the ball around to make sure that (Brewster) couldn’t set its defense, and we got some huge defensive rebounds that set us up for the fast break.
“We’re not winning because of individuals. We’re working as a team, and that’s why we’re at where we’re at.”
Okanogan (12-1 CTL) will play Chelan (11-2) on Friday in a quasi-league championship game. If the Bulldogs win, they’ll win the league title outright; if the Goats win, they’ll share the title with Okanogan. If the latter scenario occurs, Carlquist said that Chelan would advance into the bi-district tournament as the No. 1 seed because of a number draw.
“We’ll have to play good defense and make sure that (Chelan) can’t get the ball into the high post and attack the boards,” Rivas said. “We just need to play our game like we know we can.”
Carlquist said that Tuesday’s win “takes some pressure off” his team heading into Friday’s showdown.
“It’s our last home game, so hopefully we can step up and play well,” he said. “When we get three or four kids scoring in double figures, that’s when we’re at our best. (The recent play of VanderWeide and Townsend, who scored 35 points in the team’s Jan. 26 contest against Cashmere) is huge because it gives us balance, (but we won Tuesday) because we got more point in transition than (Brewster) did with the 3.”
The Bears (8-5) will be the fourth seed and play host to the fifth seed Tuesday in a bi-district play-in contest.
“Since we weren’t in the race to win the league title, our goal was to get into the playoffs and have a home game, and we accomplished that,” said Brewster coach Tim Taylor. “The second time around (in league play), we’ve been a little closer to the top teams. We have to figure out a way to get over that hump and make a jump.”
Quincy 59, Cascade 38
Jacob Durfee scored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Jackrabbits in their road win.
Quincy outscored Cascade in the second half by 20, shooting 60 percent from the field and holding the Kodiaks to 16 percent.
Cashmere 67, Chelan 59
Cashmere point guard Dylan Boyd, the CTL’s leading scorer, shot 17-of-18 from the free throw line and scored 24 points to help Cashmere to a win over visiting Chelan.
Jordan Christensen scored 16 and Coleman McElroy scored 14 on their senior night.
Pateros 53, Waterville 51
Pateros’ Danny Marquez came up with a last-second steal and Lance Davis converted the turnover into a layup as time expired.
Pateros held off a fourth quarter run from Waterville, which outscored Pateros 14-8 in the fourth quarter.
Pateros’ Carlos Ceniceros scored a game-high 19 points.
Entiat 69, Mansfield 60
Jeremy Davis scored 23 points for visiting Entiat, which trailed by two at halftime.