YAKIMA , Wash.- The Ilwaco Fishermen aren't the biggest team around, but they played big Wednesday in the opening round of the Washington Class 2A Boys Basketball State Tournament at the Yakima SunDome.
With Andy Hudkins leading the way, the Fishermen surprised the Steilacoom Sentinels 50-35 to advance to the championship quarterfinals.
Ilwaco (16-8) will meet Pullman (21-3) at 5:30 p.m. today.
Hudkins, a 6-foot-3-inch senior, had 19 points and 14 rebounds. His play was instrumental in Ilwaco's ability to control play around the basket.
"Hudkins stepped up," Ilwaco coach Matt Blair said. "He's had an up and down year a little bit, but tonight a big-time player showed up. That was the difference."
Ilwaco set the tone early by attacking inside on offense and frustrating the Sentinels at the other end.
Steilacoom, a guard-oriented team, didn't score in the first quarter and found itself in some quick foul trouble.
"We knew that they like to block some shots," Blair said. "We also knew Hudkins was pretty quick and could move inside."
Ilwaco led 10-0 at the end of a quarter, and 23-7 at halftime thanks to a 9-0 spurt that closed the second quarter.
The Sentinels made one second-half run, closing within 24-17 by taking advantage of Ilwaco turnovers to score nine straight points. But the Fishermen scored the next seven points and their lead was safe the rest of the way.
Ryan Cadwell scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds for Ilwaco. Kyle Kaino had four of the 12 Fishermen assists. The only down spot for the Fishermen was missing 15 of their 35 free throws.
Steilacoom was only 3 of 24 from 3-point range.
Having disposed of a guard-oriented opponent like those Ilwaco saw plenty of in the Trico League, the Fishermen now face a bigger challenge.
Pullman is led by 6-3 guard Fred Peete, a leaper who averages 26 points a game. Peete had 14 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals as the Greyhounds beat Trico League champion Ridgefield 70-57 Wednesday.
Tavarius Payne, 6-7, scored 18 points and had 12 rebounds and four blocked shots against Ridgefield. "We know we've got a little bit tougher opponent in front of us," Blair said. "But I don't think our kids are intimidated at all. We're going to battle, and I expect a good ball game."