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Big game from Hartz propels Lind-Ritzville-Sprague

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The game was close, the clock was quickly nearing triple zeros and Dylan Hartz just could not get a free throw to fall through the net.

Despite four misses from the charity stripe in the final quarter of a hotly-contested State B Tournament game on Thursday, the junior from Lind-Ritzville-Sprague knocked down a long 3-pointer in the final minutes to give the Broncos a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Behind a game-high 18 points by Hartz, Lind-Ritzville-Sprague beat Northwest Christian 49-46 to advance to the boys 2B state semifinals.

"I know that's big for him because he probably felt bad, he went 0-for-4 on free throws -- that's not like him, our best free-throw shooter," Broncos head coach Dustan Arlt said. "He doesn't get fazed. It's just a matter of confidence, he's going to be fine. He hit the big shot, it's not the first time he's done that."

Hartz's 3-ball gave Lind-Ritzville-Sprague a 47-44 lead. After Northwest Christian's Austin Friedley converted an acrobatic layup, Connor O'Neill knocked down a pair of free throws for to give the Broncos a 49-46 advantage.  The Crusaders had one final chance to tie the game after Hartz missed a free throw with eight seconds remaining, but the Broncos' junior redeemed himself with a game-winning steal.

"Dylan's one of our number one players, he hits threes all the time," junior Tyler Frederick said. "He wasn't on at the beginning of the game, but right at the end, when we really needed him, he pulled through and started making."

Austin Friedley had 11 points and seven rebounds for Northwest Christian in a losing effort. Frederick added nine points for Lind-Ritzville-Sprague on 4-of-6 shooting.

Northwest Christian plays Friday at 10:30 a.m. against the loser of St. George's and Morton-White Pass, while Lind-Ritzville-Sprague faces the winner of that game at 2:00 p.m.

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