WENATCHEE — The Wenatchee Panther boys’ basketball team, playing without 6-foot-6 senior center Chase Loidhamer, was unable to beat the visiting Davis Pirates on Saturday. The Panthers trailed by as many as 20 points in the second half, and even though they rallied, they were unable to overcome the deficit, losing 69-60.

“It’s a combination of about 60 different things. They zoned us primarily the first time we played them. Then, they manned us. We did the preparation for what we’re going to do if they played us man,” said Wenatchee Head Coach Travis Williams. “Obviously, not having Chase out there, hurts defensively more than anything. Just to sum it up, we were not executing offensively or defensively on the things that we worked on throughout the week in practice.”

Davis boasted two of the top scorers in the conference with junior Jose Reyes and senior Earl Lee III. While Reyes had a tough game, Lee exploded for 27 points to lead the Pirates.

The Pirates jumped out to a 14-11 first-quarter lead. The Panthers were unable to get in a good flow offensively as Davis expanded the lead in the second quarter. The Pirates led 29-21 at the half.

Loidhamer missed the game due to a football recruiting visit to Portland State. Williams said they really missed their big man.

“He’s a force defensively and does a good job of protecting the rim. That was pretty evident in the Moses Lake game. When he plays with confidence, he’s really good and effective on the offensive end too,” Williams said of Loidhamer. “Not having a guy out there is definitely a big loss with the presence he brings on both ends of the floor. It was tough to not have him there.”

With Lee leading the charge, Davis’s lead in the second half grew to 20 points. At that point, Williams said they abandoned their game plan and just tried to let junior guard Garrett Long create.

“We weren’t executing anything offensively, so we just tried to set a high on-ball screen for him and let him use his ability to create. He did a good job of creating some opportunities. He got on a roll and helped us get back in the game,” Wiliams said. “It was out of necessity because we weren’t really executing anything else we were trying to do offensively.”

With Long leading the way, the Panthers were able to cut the lead to nine points several times but never any closer. Davis led 56-38 after three quarters.

Every time Wenatchee would cut the lead to single digits, Davis would have the answer.

“We just kept having lapses, whether it was taking a bad shot or not getting back in transition, giving them a layup. We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot and couldn’t get over the hump when we got it down to single digits,” Williams said. “It just comes down to execution. We just didn’t do a good job on both ends of the floor executing.”

Long had 29 points to lead all scorers. Junior Camden Loidhamer came alive in the fourth quarter but ended up fouling out. He finished with 11 points. The big surprise was senior Logan Bailey, which chipped in with 10 points and 8 rebounds.

For Davis, senior Marcus Cook had 20 points. Reyes, who came in averaging 21 points, finished with 10.

Wenatchee falls to fifth place at 3-4 in the Big 9. They are 7-8 overall. Davis improved to 4-4, tied for third place. The Pirates are 8-8 overall. West Valley is 8-0, Eastmont 5-2, Sunnyside 4-4.

Williams thinks they still have a chance to slip into third place.

“A good weekend can completely flip who’s hosting a game and who’s going on the road. Sunnyside is third now and we go down to their place on Friday with a chance to win. We have Eastmont Saturday. If we can have two wins, it flips us back into the three-spot in the conference,” Williams said. “It’s still very realistic to be gunning for a home game when districts roll around.”

Wenatchee plays at Sunnyside on Friday.

“I think they are a team getting better all the time. They are really guard-oriented. We’re going to have to contest shots and not give them second or third opportunities on the offensive end. We have to make sure to do our part of the boards and make sure we are forcing them into taking tough shots,” Williams said. “ We just have to execute better, defensively and offensively. Whatever we’re trying to do, we have to do a better job of executing our game plan.”

Girls Basketball

Davis comes from behind to beat Wenatchee

WENATCHEE — The Wenatchee Panther girls’ basketball team jumped out to a big first-quarter lead by virtue of making four threes, but they hit a scoring drought in the second quarter which allowed Davis to come back. The Pirates won 41-36.

“I thought we played well enough. There are things we can improve on, but I thought we played well enough defensively. We were creating some turnovers. We were doing a pretty good job rebounding. We took care of the ball pretty good ourselves.,” said Wenatchee Head Coach Pat Loftus. “It really came down to not being able to convert those turnovers into points. We didn’t shoot well from the free-throw line and from the field. We just had a tough time.”

Wenatchee led 18-13 in the first quarter but did not score in the second quarter as Davis outscored them 7-0 to take a 20-18 lead at the half.

Loftus said when their outside shots stopped falling, they tried to go inside, but the big front line of the Pirates made it tough.

Davis expanded the lead in the third quarter to 34-29. Wenatchee was still in striking distance thanks to their defensive effort. Loftus said they were trying to mix things up on defense.

“We started off in a 2-3 zone where we knew we had bodies down there. We tried to front with weak side help. I thought the girls did a good job in man-to-man,” Loftus said. “Davis is a pretty good pick and roll team. We did a pretty good job on the roll, which is important in man. We even ran 3-2 to give up more of a rebounding edge. That puts us inside their posts for boxing out.”

Loftus said they were able to execute on defense like they wanted, but they had a tough time getting baskets inside. Wenatchee made some shots late, but the comeback fell short as Davis won 41-36.

Wenatchee could have helped themselves at the free-throw line. They were 2-for-8. Seniors Olivia Ramirez, Emily Redman, and Whitny Crawley each had eight points for Wenatchee. For Davis, senior guard Roxy Alvarado had 11, senior center Lochlyn Hoberg had 10.

“We talked about it afterward. When you’re not making shots, it’s difficult to keep your defensive energy up. It’s hard to keep the momentum. They kept scraping and kept working. They were fighting to stay in the game. It just didn’t come around for us,” Loftus said. “We had a couple of other games like that. Where we hit a couple of shots toward the end.”

Wenatchee falls to sixth place in the Big 9 at 2-5. Davis improves to 3-5, fifth place. The Panthers play at Sunnyside (6-2, 10-5) on Friday. The Grizzlies beat Wenatchee 45-35 on Dec. 21 at home.

Loftus said his girls have confidence going down there. Their previous game with Sunnyside was one of their better games defensively.

“They are going to have big runs, so you have to make sure you are limiting their runs as much as possible,” Loftus said. “Taking care of the ball against the pressure. We try to focus on not giving them second chance opportunities and really trying to make sure our close-outs are solid. They are going to make some, but our goal is to contest to keep the percentages down.”

Ian Dunn: 664-7157