Gutsy effort falls short against Ellensburg
A game that started worrisome turned promising, as the boys basketball team hung with the towering Ellensburg players for three quarters before dropping the game to the league-leading Bulldogs 74-40.
Quincy’s head coach, Scott Bierlink, had benched standout Max Molina for lateness, and Molina, who began his night by sulking through the pregame introductions and not shaking hands with any teammates, got the message and played a good game after sitting for part of the first quarter.
The majority of the Jacks through the first three quarters played well through the first three quarters. The Jacks trailed by five after one quarter, and by 16 after one half. In the third quarter they scored 13 points to Ellensburg’s 15.
In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs’ big men took over, outscoring Quincy 22-6.
“Ellensburg is a big team, they are athletic, and going through the starting lineup, I’m looking up at every single one of ‘em,” Bierlink said. “They’ve got some men out there. So we knew it was going to be a tough task, and I thought our kids came out and played hard.”
The Jacks showed mental toughness, not backing down even when the Bulldogs took to dunking the ball. Bierlink praised his team for buying into the system and playing hard both in practice and during games.
“They haven’t (given) up, they keep working hard and keep getting better, and it shows on the court,” Bierlink said. “They stuck to the game plan.”
The Jacks held Ellensburg standout Steele Venters to four points in the first half, including two free throws. The 6’7” senior Venters is averaging more than 20 per game, Bierlink said and he finished with 12.
The win improved the Bulldogs’ record to 13-2, 13-4 overall. The Jacks dropped to 0-15, 0-17 overall.
Molina, whom Bierlink said has come a long way attitude-wise, led the team with 13 points, followed by Aidan Heikes with 11 and Louis Merred with seven. Chris Quintero had four, Mike Vega had two and Felipe Zepeda had three.
“When you’re 0-16, you really gotta have the mentality of ‘Why not?’” Bierlink said. “Everyone expects us to lose, so we are going to come out and compete and surprise somebody.”
Next up is Ephrata on Friday on the road. The Tigers are in fifth place, with an 8-7 record in league, 9-8 overall. Saturday, the team visits Othello. The Huskies are in ninth place with a 2-13 mark in league, 2-15 overall. Then next Tuesday, the Jacks have their Senior Night, with Toppenish as their opponent. The Wildcats are in seventh place, with a 7-8 mark, 8-9 overall. All games start at 7:15 p.m.
“We are telling some of the younger kids to use these last weeks of the season to build something into next spring, next summer and next year,” Bierlink said. “Use it as a stepping stone to get better, kind of change the program and get to where we want to get to.”
By Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org