Wapato Pulls off Heart-Pounding 79-76 Victory over Zillah
In the moment it seemed the end of the world for Zillah. There would be no perfect season t-shirts, no legendary win streak to start the year. But after reflecting on the performance, Coach Mengarelli more than understood the consequences of the game.
"Realistically it means nothing, it's a non-conference game, Wapato's going to win a lot so we don't expect it to hurt our RPI." .
In front of an inspired home crowd, Wapato jumped out to a surprising 37-25 lead with four minutes left in the second quarter. But after Zillah chipped away to make it 42-35 at halftime, Zillah fans were optimistic that the comeback was inevitable.
Zillah was unable to make it a one possession game until a minute left in the fourth quarter, when junior forward Cesar Diaz hit an obscenely clutch three.
With three seconds left in the game and down by three, Zillah shooting guard Brock Ellis' corner three came up just short. A light court-storming session ensued by the Wapato faithful.
Wapato entered this match-up as the heavy underdogs. They had already lost twice in the young season, and due to extraneous circumstances, were only fielding a seven-man roster. They were also going up against an extremely deep Zillah squad.
As a result, Wapato leaned heavily on junior forwards 6-2 DaMarius Brown and 6-2 Manuel Delgadillo. Brown finished with 27 points while Delgadillo had 21 points.
"We're young, we're a couple guys short right now, guys are trying to find their way, . DaMarius and Manuel both did well going to the basket. We're still looking for guys to fill roles," said Wapato head coach Arnold Brown.
The biggest key to victory according to Coach Brown was limiting Zillah's lethal three-point game.
"Controlling the three point-line was the biggest thing for us, Zillah loves to draw you inside and kick it to the three's. We switched to zone so we didn't fall into that."
It worked as well as it possibly could as seven of Zillah's 10 player were shut out from three.
Zillah's star point guard Antonio Salinas was optimistic as could be following a tough loss, "Any loss is something you can learn from, just like any win is something you can learn from. Just like last year this is going to help us no matter what."
It's worth mentioning the lone loss from Zillah's 26-1 state championship run last season was against Wapato as well.
You're next chance to catch Wapato (3-2) will be this Friday 7:15 pm as they defend their home floor against East Valley (1-3).
Zillah well get their first shot to start a new win streak this Friday night 7:30pm at La Salle High School. You can listen to Zillah (3-1) vs La Salle (1-3) live right here on 1460 ESPN Yakima.