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YAKIMA – It’s no question that this season Prosser High School boys basketball has Ellensburg High School’s number.

The Bulldogs only two Central Washington Athletic Conference losses were to Prosser — but still ended the season as the league champions.

But the No. 4 seeded Mustangs weren’t fazed by that — as it again grabbed another win from the No. 1 seeded Bulldogs in the semifinal matchup in districts at the Yakima SunDome, 82-64.

“Just coming out with that great energy,” said sophomore Hayden Hicks on handing Ellensburg their only CWAC loses. “Just coming out really pushing the ball, because you know they’re a great team, too. So, we just need to be able to be quick and score the ball easily.”

Hicks led all scorers with 30 points. Anytime Ellensburg had momentum, Hicks pulverized it.

After Ryan Ferguson hit both his free throw attempts late in the second quarter, Hicks responded with a 3 from the wing, extending Prosser’s lead, 29-22. Ellensburg had back-to-back buckets with a 3-pointer from Davis Grant and a basket down low from Hunter Gibson, but the sophomore drained a buzzer-beater before the half for his team to take an eight-point advantage.

Mid-way through the third quarter, Steele Venters followed Gibson’s points with a deep 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 37-34. But that’s as close as Ellensburg would get the rest of the contest.

The Mustangs ensued with a 15-2 run, pushing their lead to 16. The Bulldogs committed three straight turnovers, one of them turning into a Hicks’ dunk.

“Not enough of effort, obviously,” Ferguson said. “It’s unfortunate we can’t go into the district championship game. But, just got to come back ready to go on Saturday versus Wapato.”

Venters got in foul trouble early in the contest, already having three in the midst of the second quarter, forcing him to sit out the last four minutes before the break.

During Prosser’s run, he was tabbed with his fourth foul when Ellensburg trailed seven.

“That hurt, but I mean, you can’t just count on Steele (Venters) the entire time,” Ferguson said.

Both teams were square 9-9 with just over three minutes to play in the first quarter, but a couple costly turnovers resulted in Mustang points, taking a four-point cushion.

Their pressure defense befuddled Ellensburg early and often.

“We’re pretty good at defense, so we have just always uptight, hard defense, get them frustrated, because then that gets turnovers and we’re able to score the ball,” Hicks said.

The Bulldogs were led by Venters, notching 17 points. Ferguson added 16 points and Gibson tallied 15.

They will host Wapato High School at 7 p.m. Saturday. Winner will play either Toppenish High School or Ephrata High School for third and fourth place at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at the SunDome. The loser’s season will conclude.

Prosser will face No. 2 seeded Selah High School in the District Championship.


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