Banks blocks Cubs’ bid for state title


BANKS — The top-seeded Banks Braves overpowered the Newport Cubs Friday, 57-42, in the opening round of 4A state championship action.

The underdog Cubs, seeded No. 16 in a field of 16, shocked the Cowapa League blowout specialists with a scrappy defense that rattled Banks’ 6 foot 7 inch star shooter, Blake Gobel, one of nine tape-stretching big guys on the Braves roster.

Newport’s Matt Beaudry pressured Gobel under the basket while other Cubs blocked the lanes, but superior rebounding by the Braves — 38 recoveries to Newport’s 22 — allowed for more Banks shooting. Still, the Cubs held Banks to a 10-14 first quarter and ended the half 20-27, a slim spread that made it anyone’s game.

With Gobel contorting to block rushes by Newport’s Beaudry and senior teammate Justin Plechaty, the Braves opened up the spread in the third period, outscoring Newport 17-7. A fourth-period rally marked the only time the Cubs outscored Banks, 15-13.

Besides Plechaty’s team-leading 19 points, Beaudry ended the game with 12 while Fred Hidalgo earned four points, and Kona Baldwin two from a late-game trip to the charity stripe. Missing were the multiple boomers from Bryan Tapia, who hit one from the corner for three but was heavily defended and couldn’t find his range.

Their final game of the season left Newport, last year’s third-place state winner, with a 12-14 record. Banks, now 24-3, advances to quarterfinal playoffs next Thursday.


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