STATE BASKETBALL: Neah Bay boys fall to defending champion Wellpinit in semifinal

Will play DeSales for 3rd/5th-place Saturday at 11:15 a.m.

SPOKANE — Neah Bay landed the opening salvo, but its early 10-point lead was merely a body blow in a 72-57 loss to defending champion Wellpinit in a Class 1B boys basketball state semifinal Friday night at the Spokane Arena.

The Red Devils (19-6) will face Desales (22-5) for third/fifth-place today at 11:15 a.m. in a rematch of last Saturday’s state regional round contest. DeSales won that game 65-60 at Kamiakin High School in Kennewick.

Neah Bay scored the initial basket of the second quarter to take a 21-11 advantage but it was all Wellpinit after that.

The No. 2 seeded Redskins (23-2) clamped down defensively, scoring buckets in transition, at the free-throw line and from beyond the arc — while also taking advantage of the absence of Tyler Swan with three first-half fouls — as part of a 17-0 run that put Wellpinit up 28-23.

Neah Bay’s Makyah Chambers personally tied the game up with a 3-point shot and a layup for a 30-30 game at halftime.

Wellpinit, however, came out on fire after the break, spotting the Red Devils a free throw before going on an 18-0 run to open the third quarter and take a 48-31 lead.

Neah Bay worked to get back into the game, trimming the lead to 53-40 after 3 quarters, and getting the score down to a seven-point gap with less than 4 minutes to go in the game, but the Redskins had answers for every Red Devils score down the stretch.

Chambers led Neah Bay with 18 points.

Grant Denison III was Wellpinit’s leading scorer with 26.

No. Wellpinit 72, No. 5 Neah Bay 57

Neah Bay 19 11 8 19 — 57

Wellpinit 11 19 23 19 — 72

Neah Bay: Chambers 18, Swan 12, Wimberly 8, Jimmicum 8, Cumming 6, Woodruff 5, M. Greene, R. Greene, Akin, Vitalis, Ancheta-Chartraw, Angeles.

Wellpinit: Denison III 26, An. Moyer 14, Wynne 13, E. Leyva 9, McCrea 3, Montgomery 3, Rima 2. 2, C. Leyva 2,