2B Boys Basketball: Loss to Chinooks Brings Napavine’s Season to a Close
BUSY WEEK: Evander, Olson Both Post Double-Doubles, but Tigers Fall 80-68 to Cap Stretch of Four Games in Five Days
By Aaron VanTuyl
For The Chronicle
TOUTLE — It was the second time Napavine had seen Kalama in 10 days.
Given what had transpired for the Tigers in that span, however, that first game may as well have been weeks in the past.
Napavine, playing its third straight game and fourth in five nights, couldn’t slow down a firing-on-all-cylinders Chinook squad here Saturday night. The Tigers came up short, 80-68, in a Central 2B League pigtail game that brought their season to an end.
Napavine got double-doubles from both Cade Evander (15 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, four steals) and Keith Olson (13 points, 11 rebounds), but turned the ball over 23 times in the loss.
“They’re a tough matchup for us. They’re athletic across the board,” Napavine coach Rex Stanley said of Kalama. “I wish we could have showed up a little better tonight, but we didn’t.”
The Chinooks beat the Tigers 59-56 on Jan. 29. At that point Kalama standout Jackson Esary was still nursing an ankle injury, and having the 6-foot-3 sophomore at full strength makes the Chinooks a more dangerous team, Stanley pointed out.
“Night and day. He’s, if not the best player in the league, he’s in the top three,” Stanley said. “He controls the whole game and just steadies everybody. Him getting back and getting healthy? Kalama’s a team heading into that district (tournament) that could be a scary team.”
Esary finished with a game-high 17 points, adding six rebounds, four assists and seven steals with a handful of blocked shots. Jack Doerty scored 16, Max Cox added 15 points on seven shot attempts, Tommy Brandenburg scored 14 and Bradey O’Neil chipped in 12, putting all five Chinook starters in double figures.
But just getting to Saturday’s game was something of a feat for the Tigers.
On Tuesday, Napavine lost to second-place Winlock, 63-55, which put them in a do-or-die regular-season finale against Toledo on Thursday night. Napavine won Thursday’s game, 56-48, which caused a three-way tie for the eighth and final Central 2B League berth into the District 4 tournament.
Napavine beat Toledo again on Friday in Toutle, 53-39, to set up Saturday’s game.
That busy schedule was evident early on. The Chinooks ran out to a 21-9 lead, finding transition opportunities on quick outlets and turnovers alike, and defensively packed the key to prevent Napavine from establishing any serious offensive rhythm.
“We want to play in the high 40s, low 50s, and that first quarter we gave up 21, and it was just downhill from there,” Stanley said. “That’s not the pace we want to play at, so we’re basically chasing it at that point, and it wasn’t good for us, the tempo.”
The Tigers clawed back in the second half, cutting the lead to 51-45 with 7:21 left in the game, but couldn’t quite keep up with Kalama’s 31-point fourth-quarter outburst.
It was the final game for Napavine senior Caleb Perz-Stewart, who had been with the program for 10 years dating back to his youth basketball days, Stanley said. Perz-Stewart scored eight points Saturday.
“He’s just a great kid. He does everything he’s asked, and a great teammate,” Stanley said. “I would have liked to see us get a little further than tonight for him.”
Sophomore Gavin Parker added 12 points for Napavine with eight rebounds. Cael Stanley, an eighth-grader, went 3 of 6 from long range for nine points in 11 minutes.
The Tigers finished the season with a 12-9 record.
Kalama (6-14) advances to the District 4 2B Boys Basketball Tournament and plays at Ocosta, the No. 5 seed out of the Pacific 2B League, in a loser-out first-round game at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
CHINOOKS 80, TIGERS 68
Napavine 11 13 18 26 —68
Kalama 21 15 13 31 —80
Napavine (68) — Evander 15, Olson 13, Demarest 6, Parker 12, Perz-Stewart 8, Stanley 9, Grose 5
FG: 26 of 58 —.448 FT: 8 of 17 —.471 Reb. 36 (Olson, Evander 11)
Kalama (80) — Brandenburg 14, O’Neil 12, Cox 15, Doerty 16, Esary 17, Mills 2, Armstrong 4
FG: 29 of 56 —.518 FT: 16 of 26 —.615 Reb. 25 (Esary 6)