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No. 1 Zillah thumps Tenino in WIAA 1A boys basketball regionals, 3 takeaways

After being dropped into loser-out play the last three state tournaments, the Leopards cruise to victory
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YAKIMA, Wash. – There was no regional unrest Friday night for the Class 1A’s top-seeded and unbeaten Zillah boys basketball team.

The Leopards, who had fallen in their last three regional contests, rode senior center Nic Navarre and a stingy defense to rout No. 8 Tenino 65-39 at Davis High School – the site of two of Zillah’s missteps.


With the victory, the Leopards advanced to Thursday’s quarterfinals in the Yakima Valley SunDome, avoiding the loser-out round they were getting familiar with.

Here are three takeaways from Friday’s Tenino-Zillah contest:



Zillah’s three most recent state appearances had seen the SCAC West power forced into a Wednesday matchup after regional losses, twice as the higher seed.

Those losses weren’t forgotten.

“That was definitely in the back of our minds for, honestly, the whole season,” said Navarre, who posted a game-high 27 points. “It hurt.”

Added Zillah head man Mario Mengarelli: “It’s been rough on the coach.”

After coming out a little slow Friday, however, started to take control and douse any would-be angst.

Navarre scored 15 points before the intermission to help the Leopards take a 31-17 lead into the break.

Sophomore Dekker Van de Graaf scored 11 of his 19 points in the second half.

The 6-foot-7 Navarre put a stamp on the victory in the final minute of the third quarter with a thunderous two-handed dunk.



While both teams struggled early to muster much offense, the Leopards never let the Beavers get going, due in large part to senior wing Nakea John, who drew the assignment of guarding Evergreen League MVP Noah Schow.

John, a three-year starter for the Zillah, keyed the effort that held Schow to 10 points on 2-of-13 shooting. The Tenino senior was held without a basket in the second half.

“When we’re focused and executing our assignments we’re pretty good defensively especially when we’re led by Nakea, he can guard anybody’s best player,” Mengarelli said.



Zillah (24-0) will enjoy the spoils of the victory Wednesday, when it will watch the first-day action rather than try to stave off elimination.

“Of all my time playing in the SunDome, that’s going to be a first,” Navarre said. “I’m definitely going to enjoy it, sitting up in the seats watching.”

Tenino (16-7) on Wednesday will meet the winner of Saturday’s loser-out contest between King’s and Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls.