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Ephrata hosts summer league basketball tournament

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | June 5, 2022 5:37 PM

EPHRATA — Ephrata High School hosted its Buckets In the Basin Summer Tip Off tournament this past weekend, featuring boys varsity and JV squads from around the Basin.

The summer league tournament gives coaches and players the opportunity to bond with each other before the regular season begins this winter. The bracket featured teams from 4A, 2A, 2B and 1B schools.

“It’s early,” Ephrata basketball head coach Rick Walter said. “It’s just fun to be in the gym and excited to get started.”

The games began Friday evening, with varsity squads from Ephrata and Soap Lake tipping off the tournament. The Tigers took the first victory of the tournament 76-37, and kept their success going in the first game on Saturday; defeating Warden 47-23. The final game of the day for the Tigers saw them fall to Lake Roosevelt 43-35.

“This is perfect because they’re getting to know me and my language, and I’m getting to know them a little bit,” Walter said. “There’s a lot of benefit [in summer league] for that. I don’t know if drawing up a play in June really helps you out in December, but it’s fun.”

After falling to Ephrata to start the tournament, the Soap Lake Eagles were the only team to play three games on Saturday. They began the day with two losses; the first being to Lake Roosevelt 86-39 and the second being an 84-44 loss to Eastmont. In the final game of Saturday, the Eagles found success against Warden, knocking off the Cougars 43-34.

“Our big thing over the summer was, we’re trying to play bigger schools, higher competition level and just get that experience of a faster-paced game,” Soap Lake head coach Daniel Simon said.

The Cougars went 0-3 on Saturday, losing to Ephrata, an 81-32 loss to Eastmont and their loss to Soap Lake.

The JV bracket featured the Almira/Coulee-Hartline varsity team, two JV squads from Ephrata and the Warden JV team. ACH finished Saturday with a 3-0 record, followed by the Ephrata JV 1 who went 2-1, Ephrata JV 2 who went 1-2 and Warden with an 0-3 record.

The first two varsity games on Sunday saw Eastmont defeat Ephrata 51-38 and Lake Roosevelt take down Warden 76-37. This set up the final four matchups of Ephrata against Eastmont, and Lake Roosevelt playing the winner of Soap Lake/Warden. Eastmont handled business against the Tigers, winning 42-36 and Warden took down Soap Lake for its first win of the tournament 41-36.

Eastmont defeated Warden 74-21, setting up a matchup between the varsity Tigers and Cougars for the third-place game. Ephrata took third place in the tournament after its 53-27 win over Warden. In the championship game, Lake Roosevelt took home the title after defeating Eastmont 77-56.

Ephrata JV 1 won the JV bracket after defeating the ACH Varsity team 47-38 in the championship game.

More photos from the Buckets in the Basin tournament can be found here.

Ian Bivona may be reached at ibivona@columbiabasinherald.com.

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IAN BIVONA/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Soap Lake’s Jairo Lopez jumps behind an Eastmont player for a block during the Buckets in the Basin tournament.

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IAN BIVONA/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Ephrata’s Aidan Devine (center) advances the ball upcourt with teammate Travis Hendrick (right) for the Tigers.

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