PENDLETON — League rivals Knappa and Vernonia met for the third time this season on Thursday evening, except this time a little more was on the line than just a league win or loss.
Both were playing for a spot in the state semifinals.
No. 3 Knappa had beaten No. 11 Vernonia each of the previous two times, but Thursday’s game saw a different result. Vernonia’s Gunnar Harral sank a buzzer-beater from in close with an assist from Clay Sullivan to upset Knappa 52-50 in the Class 2A quarterfinal at the Pendleton Convention Center.
Knappa (23-5) controlled the game for the first three quarters and lead by as much as 12 points. However, in the fourth quarter it was Vernonia (20-8) that earned the momentum.
Vernonia took its first lead of the game 39-37 with 6:07 left on a three-point play by Jakob Handegard, and never trailed the rest of the way, though Knappa tied the game at 50-50 with nine seconds left. That set up Harral’s game-winner.
Sullivan led Vernonia with a game-high 31 points with five rebounds and four assists. He was 10-of-18 shooting and nailed six 3-pointers in the game.
Timber Engblom led Knappa with 22 points and Joe Ramvick had seven points and seven rebounds.
Vernonia, the 2016 state champion, will play Columbia Christian on Friday at 8:15 p.m. in the semifinal at the Pendleton Convention Center. Knappa plays Kennedy on Friday at 10:45 a.m. at Pendleton High School in the consolation bracket.
NO. 1 WESTERN MENNONITE 60, NO. 8 GRANT UNION 38 — Led by Payton Richardson and Johnny Williams, No. 1 Western Mennonite sailed through the first round of the playoffs with a 60-38 win over No. 8 Grant Union.
Up by just three points after the first quarter, the Pioneers (24-3 overall) used a 21-3 second quarter run to command control of the game. Western Mennonite was on a 15-0 run before the Prospectors (18-6) banked a 3-pointer for their only points of the quarter.
In the second half, the teams had the same scoring output mirroring each others 13-point third and 11-point fourth quarters.
The Pioneers shot 40.6 percent from the field and 60 percent from the free-throw line, while the Prospectors only made 1 of their 12 attempts from the charity stripe.
Grant Union finished 30 percent from the field but found some solace behind the arc, knocking down 28 percent of its attempts.
The Pioneers will play No. 5 Oakland in the semifinals on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Pendleton Convention Center. The Prospectors will continue play in the consolation bracket at 9 a.m. Saturday against Toledo at Pendleton High School.
NO. 5 OAKLAND 51, NO. 4 TOLEDO 44 — It was a back-and-forth affair when No. 5 Oakland faced No. 4 Toledo at the Pendleton Convention Center, but ultimately it was Oakland that came out on top, 51-44.
At first, the Oakland Oakers took an early lead and were ahead 13-12 after the opening quarter. The Toledo Boomers knotted the score at 23 points apiece with seconds left in the second quarter after Jaydn Spangler hit a 3-pointer and Oakland’s Sean Winn missed his attempt at a three on the ensuing play.
The Boomers (20-6 overall) hit two more three’s in the third to claim their first lead of the game, but the Oakers (24-3) quickly got over their third-quarter hump and closed out the game with 19 points in the fourth.
Leading Oakland’s efforts was Cameron Benzel, who finished with a double-double (12 points and 12 rebounds). Nic Freeman recorded 10 points and three other Oakers each notched six points.
For Toledo, Jaydn Spangler had a game-best 15-point night and Conner Marchant followed with 13 points.
The Oakers move into the semifinals where they will take on No. 1 Western Mennonite at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Toledo goes to consolation and will play Grant Union on Friday at 9 a.m. at Pendleton High School.
NO. 2 COLUMBIA CHRISTIAN 58, NO. 10 KENNEDY 45 — Three Columbia Christian Knights scored in double figures on Thursday as they defeated Kennedy 58-45 in a Class 2A quarterfinal game at the Pendleton Convention Center.
Ben Gregg led the No. 2 Knights (28-1) with 17 points, 13 rebounds and six steals, while Elijah Munyan scored 16 points behind four 3-pointers. Isiah Mariscal added 11 points.
Emorej Lynk led the Trojans (16-14) with 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Bruce Beyer added 10 points and Rocco Carley had nine. Kennedy scored the first points of the game on a jumper by Carley at 6:37 for a 2-0 lead, but Munyan’s 3-pointer at 4:54 of the first gave the Knights a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
The Knights will now play Friday at 8:15 p.m. against No. 11 Vernonia in the semifinals at Pendleton Convention Center. Kennedy will take on No. 3 Knappa at 10:45 a.m. in consolation at Pendleton High School.