MATTAWA — It was already one of those kind of nights. The Wahluke defense didn’t allow a field goal until the 1:05 mark in the first quarter. Tanu Buck missed the second of two free throws and Alex Valdez came down with the rebound, then took it back up for the putback to make it a three-point play.
If the Warriors’ 42-point first half wasn’t enough, Luke Yorgensen gathered the ball near mid-court, took a couple of dribbles and let fly a shot that was nothing-but-net to end the first half and the Warriors (1-0) ran away from Goldendale 88-52 in the season opener Friday night at home.
Tanu Buck, a 5-foot-9, junior, found his stroke early. He was 3 of 7 from 3-point range (42 percent) and finished with a team-high 19 points. Valdez made most of his points down low, finishing with 17 points and eight rebounds for the Warriors, who led start to finish.
“I think we controlled the ball pretty good tonight playing man defense and running the floor,” Valdez said. “We were all rebounding and crashing the boards. You have to rebound to run the floor and that’s what we did.”
The Warriors owned the glass, out-rebounding the Timberwolves 23-15 with 11 on the offensive end for second-chance points. But the real burst of energy was in the running game where they opened up a 61-34 lead in the third quarter.
“It’s early, but I’m rebounding pretty good. I worked with a coach this summer and we worked on boxing out and technique,” Jesus Cisneros said. “Having long arms really helps, but if you focus and really go after it, that’s the big thing.”
Running the floor is pretty much the Warrior style, but coach Clayton Buck and his staff are changing up some things on defense and they had a chance to showcase that in front of a loud, near capacity crowd.
“This is our first year playing man defense,” he said. “We’ve been working on it through the summer. Last year we tried to perfect our zone defense, but when we got into the playoffs with a one-set defense really hurt us.
“I think we’re pretty athletic all the way around. I have a lot of seniors and a lot of sophomores. I thought our seniors helped control the shot selection tonight. We’re definitely not selfish in anyway.”
They spread it around well on the first night. Alan Contreras and David Ramirez finished with eight points apiece. Yorgesen had 10 points and Logan Marlow came off the bench to add seven.
“I thought we had good ball movement. This is one of our fastest teams in awhile,” Buck said. “We have a lot of height and we have a lot of speed and we’d like to take advantage of that.”
The Timberwolves (0-1) tried to overcome the 11-point first quarter deficit with a fairly productive 18-point second period. But the Yorgensen bomb to end the half and a 27-point Warrior fourth quarter was just too much to overcome. Napoleon Owen led the Timberwolves with 12
Goldendale 9 18 7 18 - 52
Wahluke 22 20 17 27 - 86
Goldendale: Lane Siebert 4, Skyler Lowe 3, Nick Lee 7, Corbin Bland 3, Andrew Ihrig 3, Napoleon Owen 12, Cameron Mains 3, Curtis Kyser 6, Dylan Lafield 2, Hayden Lorton 7. Totals: 17-39 16-30 52.
Wahluke: Charlie Garza 4, Alan Contreras 8, David Ramirez 8, Trenton Zirker 3, Jesus Cisneros 3, Luke Yorgensen 10, Tanu Buck 19, Alex Valdez 17, Juan Mendoza 2, Luke Marlow 7, Sebastian Soto 5. Totals: 32-63 14-34 86
Wahluke 69, Highland 28 (Saturday)
W — 14 14 24 17 69
H — 7 6 6 9 28
Wahluke highlights: Alan Contreras 15, Tanu Buck 14, Alex Valdez 12