(Wenatchee, WA)…Wenatchee’s Tony Esquivel scored the game-tying layup with 35-seconds remaining and the game-winning layup as time expired to down Eisenhower Tuesday 60-58 in a District Play-In game.
Esquivel’s heroics capped a Panther comeback from 16-points down in the 3rd quarter to extend the playoff lives of seven Wenatchee seniors. He said coach Travis Williams really let them have it after a sluggish start to the second half that saw Eisenhower open up a 40-24 lead. Esquivel said, “coach ripped us a new one and told us we had to get in it…we had seven seniors on the team and (most) probably would never play again so we had to pick up our own energy and I think we did that.”
Following the timeout by Williams, Wenatchee countered the Cadet’s 9-0 run by outscoring Eisenhower the rest of the period 18-to-4. Wenatchee took its first lead since the first quarter early in the fourth on a three-pointer by Luke Worley. It was back-and-forth the rest of the way as the game included eight lead-changes and seven ties.
It looked as though the Panthers would have a clear shot at taking the lead with under a minute remaining and the game tied at 56. But following a timeout, Cass Riggan’s inbounds pass was stolen by Eisenhower’s Efrain Araujo, who quickly scooted down court for a lay-in to give the Cadets a 58-56 lead with 54-seconds to go. That’s when Esquivel took matters into his own hands, driving from the left wing around and through the lane for the game-tying bucket with 35-seconds remaining. Williams said that’s not exactly how he planned it, “that’s way too stressful to draw it up like that.”
Following an Eisenhower timeout with 25.6-second left, Darius Carlson stepped in front of a pass attempt by the Cadet’s Alejandro Terrazas. After the steal, Carlson made a quick pass to Ben McKay who flipped it ahead to Esquivel who then motored into the fore court, drove to the right, spun around into the paint and banked the winning shot off the window as time expired. The crowd erupted in cheers as Esquivel’s teammates provided congratulatory chest-bumps. Carlson said he was reading Terrazas’ eyes on the final play. “He was kinda staring down at the high post and I thought he was going to come into him. So as soon as he threw it I just jumped and tried to get it and it ended up working out and Tony hit a big shot.”
Wenatchee advances to play Davis Friday in Yakima in the District Semi-Finals at 7 o’clock.
Wenatchee Scoring – Tony Esquivel (21pts); Luke Worley (13pts); Darius Carlson (12pts); Matt Springer (10pts); Cass Riggan (2pts); Ben McKay (1pt); Matt Clive (1pt)
Eisenhower Scoring – Efrain Araujo (23pts); Tyler Fitchett (12pts); Deltay Redick (11pts); Alejandro Terrazas (6pts); Noah Ramirez (4pts); Jeremias Sanchez (2pts)