If there was an ugly Christmas sweater award for a poorly played basketball game, the Hermiston boys would have taken the top prize Saturday night.
But at least they won the contest.
The Bulldogs (8-1 overall) needed a last-second 3-pointer by Ryne Andreason to send the game into overtime, and the 6-foot-3 senior added eight points in the extra session as Hermiston eked out a 75-71 nonleague win over Sunnyside at the Dawg House.
“I felt like we were wearing ugly Christmas sweaters there for a while,” Hermiston coach Casey Arstein said. “We didn’t have the best start, but it’s nice to get a win going into the break.”
Andreason finished with a game-high 29 points, while Cesar Ortiz added 23, including three 3-pointers.
“We were pretty tired from Hanford (on Friday), but we came out on top,” Ortiz said. “We have a lot to work on. Richland is up next, and they are pretty good.”
Trailing the entire game since leading 2-0, Hermiston took a 52-50 lead with 35 seconds left in the third quarter on a basket by Andrew James, and Ortiz drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 55-50 lead.
James scored nine of his 15 points in the third, and Ortiz also had nine as the Bulldogs went on a 24-11 run to get back in the game.
A bucket by Jordan Ramirez to open the fourth quarter extended Hermiston’s lead to 57-50, but the Grizzlies were relentless.
Sunnyside (2-7) went on an 8-1 run to tie the score at 58-58, then jumped out to a 64-58 lead on a basket by Alex Lopez with 1:03 left in regulation.
Ramirez hit the front end of a one-and-one, and Andreason followed with a pair of free throws to pull the Bulldogs within 64-61 with 28 seconds left.
Hermiston then pressured the Grizzlies when they inbounded the ball, and got a 10-second violation called against Sunnyside to get possession of the ball.
Andreason drained a 3 from the top of the key with 2.6 seconds remaining to knot the score at 64-64.
“We have a couple of sets that give us multiple options,” Arstein said. “We executed decent, and Ryno hit a nice shot.”
In overtime, Sunnyside took a 71-68 lead, but Hermiston scored the final seven points of the game for the win.
Andreason and James sealed the win when James put his quarterback skills to work with a three-quarter court pass to Andreason, who finished with an easy layup.
“We executed in the end, and our intensity was up,” Arstein said. “I was proud our kids kept their heads up. We saw what we need to work on the next 13 days — offense, defense and rebounding.”
The Grizzlies led 20-14 at the end of the first quarter, and 39-31 at the half. They led by as many as 10 — 36-26 — before the Bulldogs got a 3 from Andreason and two free throws by Ortiz to cut into the lead.
Sophomore Ethan Copeland scored 10 of his team-high 27 points in the second quarter for Sunnyside.
“No. 4 (Copeland) is going to be a stud,” Ortiz said. “He played a hell of a game.”
Daniel Singleterry, who finished with 23 points for Sunnyside, scored 10 in the first quarter.