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Rattlers survive Sherman Co. comeback, advance to district championship

SPRAY – There was no quit in the Sherman County Huskies on Thursday night.

Trailing from the start, the Huskies could have folded. But each time the Rattlers stretched their lead, the Huskies came back.

Ultimately, it was not enough and the Wheeler Co. Rattlers beat the Sherman Co. Huskies 59-51.

Spray exchange student Eddie Wu provided a spark for the Rattlers. (Times-Journal)

The game opened with a 3-pointer by Carter Boise, who also had a rebound and put-back to give the Rattlers a 12-4 lead early.

But Sherman County’s Gabe Fritts answered, as he did all night, with a 3-pointer to make it 14-9 at the end of the first quarter.

Levan Whitbeck opened the second quarter with a three-point bucket and hit another minutes later. But Fritts again answered both of those buckets with threes of his own.

Spray superfan Ed Greinegar at the district tournament game on Thursday. (Times-Journal)

Fritts would finish with a game-high 24 points, including five from behind the arc.

But in the third quarter, Wheeler Co. showed their grit. Nate Clark grabbed rebound after rebound on the offensive and defensive end.

In a 1-3-1 press, the Rattlers stole the ball and Clark dunked it. Clark then beat the buzzer with an acrobatic shot to put Wheeler Co up 48-29 going into the 4th.

Rattlers v. Huskies – Big Sky District Tournament – 02/16/2023

Clark finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds while being double-teamed for much of the game.

But the Huskies would not go down without a fight.

Eduardo Rubio slipped through the Rattler defense time and again in the fourth. Rubio finished with 14 points.

The Huskies clawed back, scoring 22 points in the fourth quarter and getting a late three-pointer from Fritts to cut the lead to 56-51.

But clutch free throws from Carter Boise, who finished with 19 points, sealed it for the Rattlers.

“We’ve been working and improving for 100 days. That’s the resilience of this group – they started believing in themselves at the right time.” – Sherman Co. Coach Gary Lewis

Huskies coach Gary Lewis said that going into the fourth, he told the team to go all out. “We told our kids, we got eight minutes. We’ve been working and improving for 100 days. That’s the resilience of this group – they started believing in themselves at the right time. Unfortunately, you can’t dig a hole as deep as we did against a quality opponent.”

Sherman Co. will face Ione/Arlington in the 3rd/4th place game in The Dalles on Saturday at noon.

With the win, the Rattlers will go to the Big Sky District Championship game in The Dalles on Saturday. The Rattlers will face the S. Wasco Co. Redsides, who are undefeated in league play.

“They’re tough, they have good players and they play their roles well. It’ll be a battle.” – Wheeler Co. coach Garey Fischer

Wheeler Co. Coach Garey Fischer said his team is looking forward to the rematch against S. Wasco.

“They’re tough, they have good players and they play their roles well. It’ll be a battle,” Coach Fischer said.

Tipoff is scheduled for 6 PM on Saturday.


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