The Mules will be heading to central Washington this weekend as they clinched a berth to regionals with four wins this past week.
Facing elimination following their second loss of the season to seventh-seeded Winlock, the third-seeded Mules found themselves in a loser-out matchup against the top-seeded Pacific League champions, the Raymond Seagulls. The Mules, however, quickly silenced any fears of a two-and-out appearance as they jumped on the Gulls early, racing to a 20-8 first quarter lead, and never looking back for a 69-33 win.
Senior co-captains Lars Blix and Peter Weiler did most of the damage, tallying 19 and 17 points, respectively, with Seth Doumit adding 12, Austin Good nine, Eli McElroy seven (also co-captain), two apiece from Shane Souvenir, Dallas Peacock, and Steven Doumit (also co-captain), and one point from Travis Wegdahl. McElroy grabbed eight rebounds, Blix grabbed seven boards and dished out five assists, and Weiler grabbed six rebounds, handed out four assists and picked up five steals.
Friday night, the Mules were sitting just one game away from a regional berth, but standing in their path was the Central League’s number two seed, Onalaska, fresh off a surprise loss to North Beach. The Loggers swept the season series with the Mules, taking both games by three points, and early on it looked as though the Mules would be in another dogfight with the Loggers, trailing 9-8 after one. That was the last lead of the game for the Loggers as the Mules came out in the second quarter and played their best defensive quarter of the year, keeping Onalaska from logging a single point in the quarter.
In the end, the Mules held the Loggers to just 29 points, prevailing 44-29. The defensive effort was a marked improvement for the Mules, who surrendered 45 and 57 points to Onalaska in the two previous contests.
On the offensive side of the ball, Weiler was clicking on all cylinders as he nearly outscored Onalaska himself, collecting 26 points on 7 of 11 from the field and 9 of 10 from the free throw line. Of the Mules remaining 18 points, McElroy accounted for six, Blix and Souvenir four apiece, and Good and Seth Doumit two each. McElroy corralled five rebounds, Souvenir handed out four assists, and Weiler swiped seven steals.
The following night, the Mules found themselves facing a familiar foe in the Winlock Cardinals, this time with regional seeding on the line, with the winner advancing to the 3rd/4th game and the loser the 5th/6th game. Much like the first round meeting the Mules had with the Cardinals, the Mules jumped out ahead early, taking a 15-6 advantage after one. Unlike the first meeting, however, the Mules never let up on the Cardinals as they extended the lead to 30-17 at the break. Despite getting outscored 35-28 and converting just 10 of 22 free throw attempts in the second half, the Mules’ strong first half carried them the rest of the way to a narrow 58-52 victory. Blix paced the Mules with 20 points with Weiler contributing 14, Souvenir 11, McElroy six, Seth Doumit five, and Good two. Weiler grabbed eight rebounds, Souvenir seven, and Blix six.
On Monday, the Mules completed their four game stretch with a complete shellacking of the Mossyrock Vikings, 60-28.
The Mules dominated their Central League rivals from start to finish, allowing just a pair of free throws in a 16-2 first quarter and outscoring the Vikings 12-8, 13-5, and 19-13 in the other three.
Weiler netted a team-high 15 points, including scoring the first 11 points for the Mules, but after picking up three fouls in the quarter, he took a seat on the bench for the rest of the half. Souvenir added 14 points, Good nine, Blix and Seth Doumit seven, Steven Doumit six, and Peacock two. Blix and Souvenir each pulled in 12 boards, with McElroy grabbing seven. Good, Blix and Souvenir each dished out four assists and McElroy recorded six blocks.
With the win over the Vikings, the Mules secured the third seed to regionals. They are scheduled to play the District 5/6 number two seed Liberty Bell at 4 p.m. at Sunnyside High School. The winner advances to the round of eight the following weekend in Spokane.