Johnny Mullen (15), Cole Koenig (11) and Jacob Stibal (21) on the defense against Tonasket. (Provided photo/Stephanie Stibal)
By David Heiling
Empire Press Correspondent
TONASKET ? Earlier this season, the Waterville/Mansfield boys basketball team got a huge win over one of the best teams in the Central Washington 2B League, the Tonasket Tigers. It was a game that coach Heath Jordan at the time said was ?huge for the program,? and went a long way in fueling the success of the Shockers’ 2017-18 campaign.
In the rematch in Tonasket on Jan. 20, it looked like Waterville/Mansfield was poised to sweep the season series with the Tigers, but a tough fourth quarter ultimately spelled doom for the Shockers in a 68-67 loss.
Jordan said Waterville/Mansfield controlled the first 30 minutes of the game, and lost the lead with about two minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, the Shockers were down by one point with 4.7 seconds left in the game. Waterville/Mansfield was able to effectively execute a full court set play by Jordan, and the Shockers had a good look at the rim for a potential game winner. The shot was left just short and the Shockers got on the bus losing by the slimmest of margins.
The Shockers have not been in many close games this year, often losing by double digits or winning by double digits. Jordan said the lack of experience in close games showed for the Shockers, but that the team will use this as a lesson moving into the final stretch of league play.
Waterville/Mansfield led by 12 points entering the locker rooms for halftime, but allowed 46 points in the second half.
?They were playing a 2-3 zone in that first half and we were able to hit four 3-pointers which really helped us get some confidence,? Jordan said after game. ?But our passing in the second half was not very good and we were turning the ball over and committing unforced turnovers. They switched up to a little 1-2-2 zone in the second half packing their defenders in the middle and we weren?t able to make the 3-pointers we did in the first half.?
Jordan said allowing Tonasket to get offensive rebounds, and therefore second-chance opportunities at the rim hurt Waterville/Mansfield in the loss.
Johnny Mullen led the team in scoring with 16 points.
Waterville/Mansfield faced Bridgeport Jan. 23 for its last home game of the season along with?Senior?Night.?The Shockers face Soap Lake on the road Jan. 25.