SPOKANE — The spark Toledo needed came quickly and at an unexpected time.
With star guard Reece Wallace on the bench with two fouls, Andreas Malunat hit back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game at 18-18. After trailing the entire first quarter, Toledo led Colfax 20-19 at the break and went on to win 52-37 in 2B State Tournament boys’ basketball loser-out action on Wednesday.
“Sometimes he gets in foul trouble and other guys have to step up,” Malunat said. “Today I needed to shoot.”
Westin Wallace and Junior Arroyo got things going in the second half, and Reece Wallace put the game away, finishing with a team-high 13 points, all coming in the final 16 minutes.
“It’s stressful. You can’t get in a rhythm when you’re hoping and wishing on every play,” Fallon said. “Andreas saved our butts there in the first half.”
The win sends Toledo (22-5) to the state quarterfinals, where they’ll face rival Adna (22-2) at 3:45 p.m. on Thursday. It also ensures the Indians an extra two days in Spokane.
“That’s a huge relief,” Fallon said of getting into the double-elimination portion of the tournament. “Four of our last six games are loser-out. I don’t want it to end. It’s the worst part of the coaching season when you have to walk into the locker room with seniors that are done.”
Things got dicey there Wednesday for awhile as a sluggish offense couldn’t quite find a spark. Malunat lit the flame, and Toledo locked down on defense in the second half to win and improve to 4-0 in loser-out games this season.
“I think these guys are veteran enough not to panic,” Fallon said of the success in elimination bouts. “Reece has played a lot of ball, and he usually keeps a level head.”
Malunat finished with 12 points, Junior Arroyo added 11 points and seven rebounds, Fans Arceo-Hansen had six points and a team-high eight rebounds, and Westin Wallace finished with four assists.
It sets up a quarterfinal meeting with the Pirates, who topped Toledo 63-40 earlier this year. Toledo still won the Central 2B League title, but Adna took the Southwest District crown.
“It should be fun,” Fallon said. “They’re always ready. It’s fun to be here; it just sucks that you have to beat each other up.”
After a strong second half Wednesday, the Indians feel they’ll be ready to put past nightmares against Adna to rest.
“We’re ready to play,” Malunat said. “Last time we didn’t show up. We’re ready this time.”