SUNNYSIDE — Tuesday night marked the end of Big 9 regular season play for the Eastmont boys basketball team. They faced the Sunnyside Grizzlies in what was sure to be a tough contest. About a month ago, when they last met, the Wildcats came out on top after a close battle. The second time around was no different.

Eastmont was down early and it stayed that way until a steady but late surge propelled them through the last quarter, taking the win 71-66

The Wildcats started a little flat and Sunnyside took advantage. The Grizzlies ballooned their lead to as much as a 16 in the first half but the Wildcats brought it back to within four before finishing the half down 37-33.

“We didn’t start the game as well as we should have,” said Eastmont Head Coach George Juarez.

Slowly but surely the Wildcats clawed back to tie the game at the end of the third quarter and that momentum propelled them through the final quarter to take the lead and the victory.

“We were down early but we brought it back,” said Juarez. “The last four minutes we were really able to draw out the lead.”

Isaac Wellborn led Eastmont with 23 points and Lane Keller added 15. Sunnyside’s Ethan Copeland finished with 28 points.

Eastmont is 9-3 in league and 13-6 overall. Sunnyside is 4-7 in league and 6-13 overall.

Eastmont plays West Valley in Yakima Thursday, Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. for the District Championship. The winner moves onto State.

Cashmere wins battle with Okanogan

OKANOGAN — The end of the regular CTL season came for the Cashmere and Okanogan boys basketball teams Tuesday night. They have played twice already this season and each one was a dogfight.

Cashmere has come out on top each time, bolstered by fine shooting from the field but these games are never certain, especially when the top two teams in the league are facing each other for the third time. They are well acquainted by now.

Okanogan nearly pulled off an upset but after a long back-and-forth battle between both Bulldogs, Cashmere pulled it off in the final quarter, winning 55-46.

“It was ugly but we won,” said Cashmere Head Coach Levi Heyen. “Okanogan is a dangerous team and we have to play them again for the district title on Saturday.”

Cashmere ended the first quarter with a lead but, for whatever reason, their shots didn’t drop that second quarter and Okanogan was able to go on a run to gain the lead before halftime. It would have been more but Sam Phillips hit a three before the buzzer to reduce the deficit 27-20.

“We had a decent start but we struggled offensively in the second quarter,” said Heyen. “We struggled to shoot. We couldn’t knock down shots.”

Cashmere slowly worked their way back to within two by the end of the third quarter and surged in the final quarter to take the lead and the win. Brooks Elliott kept Cashmere in the game.

“He might have had only two points but he was big on defense and had countless rebounds,” said Heyen. “Reid Smith hit two threes in the third quarter which really helped us and Carter Alberts made seven of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.”

Phillips led Cashmere with 23 points. Alberts and Smith added 15 and 12 respectively. Okanogan’s Chase Wilson finished with 27.

Cashmere is 12-0 in league and 17-3 overall. Okanogan is 8-4 in league and 13-7 overall.

Cashmere and Okanogan will play again for the district title this Saturday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Eastmont High School gymnasium.

Girls Eastmont ends season with “bright future”

SUNNYSIDE — The Eastmont girls basketball team, recently off their first league win of the season, were looking to finish the season with a cherry on top. They knew it would be hard work. Sunnyside sits higher in the Big 9 rankings but when they first faced each other last month the Wildcats lost but not by much. Unfortunately, despite playing their hearts out, their shots didn’t fall and Sunnyside took the win 53-26.

“We played with energy,” said Eastmont Head Coach Ron Stone. “We didn’t hit our shots. Our basket got smaller and Sunnyside’s got bigger.”

The game, for the most part, was a little one-sided. After the first half, Sunnyside outscored Eastmont 32-8. This continued through the third quarter but Eastmont, perhaps shining a light on their future, saved their best quarter for last when they scored 12 points and held Sunnyside to zero.

“We didn’t lose from lack of trying,” said Stone. “We battled in a lot of games and did well defensively this season. Injuries hurt us but some freshmen got a lot of playing time this year and have constantly improved. We’ve got a bright future.”

Jayden Brown led Eastmont with 7 points and Sunnyside’s Analyssa Maldonado finished with 16.

Eastmont ends the season 1-11 in league and 3-16 overall. Sunnyside is 8-3 in league and 12-6 overall.

Cashmere dominates on D for 40-point win

OKANOGAN — The Cashmere girls basketball team strung out a 40-point win to end the regular season Tuesday night when they faced Okanogan for the third time. They hoped to hold Okanogan to 30 points and nearly did before finishing 72-32.

Cashmere raised the tempo early on both sides of the ball when they scored 21 points and held Okanogan to five before the end of the first quarter. Okanogan found their footing the very next quarter but Cashmere nearly doubled Okanogan’s offensive production before ending the half with the lead 40-15.

“Our full-court and half-court defense was good,” said Darnell. “We forced 23 turnovers which gave us points in transition and we were strong on the boards.”

The second half followed suit before Cashmere finally ended with the victory.

“We played a lot of girls and we’re finally getting healthy,” said Darnell. “I love our energy. We are sharing and moving the ball and making great choices. On defense, we’re talking, ready to step in and help. We’re where we are supposed to be but we have some room to improve.”

Hailey Van Lith led Cashmere with 42 points and Grace Erdmann and Grace Hammond added 10 apiece. Sunnyside’s Daniele Sparks finished with 8 points.

Cashmere is 12-0 in league and 20-0 overall. Okanogan is 7-4 in league and 11-7 overall.

Cashmere plays Omak at the Eastmont High School gymnasium for the district title on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 5 p.m.

Rand Stevens: 665-1167