College Update: Poquette, Gilson Shining at Central Washington University

By Matt Baide / mbaide@chronline.com

Fall prep sports are winding down and winter prep sports are about to get underway next week, but there are plenty of former local athletes excelling at the next level. Here’s a look at what some former Lewis County athletes are up to.

Matt Poquette & Marqus Gilson, Central Washington University

The former Morton-White Pass star has been tearing up the hardwood in Ellensburg to begin his sophomore season. Poquette has started all six games this season and averages 10.2 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game. He had a season-high 14 points in a 65-57 win against Evergreen State College last Saturday in Ellensburg. At the Fairfield Inn Tournament in Nampa, Poquette had 11 rebounds in a 70-65 win against Colorado Christian on Nov. 16 and tallied three blocks in an 83-72 win against Texas A&M-Kingsville on Nov. 15.

Gilson, a Centralia College alum, has seen some minutes off the bench in every game for the Wildcats this season. He scored eight points and had seven rebounds in the first game of the season on Nov. 8 against Cal State Monterey Bay and also had eight points in last Saturday’s win against Evergreen State.

The Wildcats are 5-1 this season and are back in action on Thursday against Seattle Pacific University in Ellensburg.

Jaron Kirkley, Whitman College

The former Mossyrock star got off to a hot start at Whitman College, scoring 30 points in a 114-104 win against Montclair State University on Nov. 8 to earn him the Northwest Conference’s basketball student-athlete of the week. He then scored 24 points in the second game of the season against St. Thomas (MN) in an 87-79 loss on Nov. 14. Kirkley is averaging 16 points per game this season.

The Blues were 4-1 overall before facing Johnson & Wales University on Friday and Colorado College on Saturday in Colorado Springs. Whitman has almost two weeks off after Saturday before hitting the road again to face Eastern Oregon University on Dec. 13.

Zach Walton, Drexel University

Another former Morton-White Pass standout is thriving in Pennsylvania. Walton has been playing significant minutes for the Dragons, playing more than 20 minutes in five of seven games. He scored 32 points, including 12 of 17 shooting from the field and 6 of 9 from behind the arc, in an 86-74 win against Bryant on Nov. 20. Walton played a season-high 33 minutes and scored 22 points with seven rebounds in an 86-83 win against Abilene Christian on Nov. 10.

Drexel is 4-3 this season and faces University of Maryland, Baltimore County on the road Saturday at 10 a.m. on ESPN3 before coming home to take on Princeton on Wednesday.

Jordan Thomas, Pacific Lutheran University

Thomas has started all five games for the Lutes this season. The former W.F. West basketball star has seen significant minutes in the first five games of the season and made the most of it, averaging 12.6 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game.

He scored a season-high 18 points to go with nine rebounds in a 69-68 loss to Chapman University and recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds in a 76-71 loss to Evergreen State College on Tuesday. He’s recorded double digit points and played more than 30 minutes in four of five games.

Pacific Lutheran faced the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on Saturday and will travel to Portland on Friday to take on Portland Bible College.

Danny Nelson, LaBrandon Price, Josh Broughton, Michael Brown, Yngwie Dowie, Evergreen State College

Lewis County, Thurston County and Centralia College are represented on the hardwood at The Evergreen State College.

Nelson, a former Mossyrock Viking, averages eight points per game for the Geoducks. He scored a season-high 14 points in a 103-60 win against New Hope Christian College on Nov. 1. Nelson also tallied double digit points against Linfield on Nov. 19, scoring 10 in a 95-82 loss.

Price, a former Blazer, has started three of four games for the Geoducks and averages 13.8 points per game and seven rebounds per game. He scored 17 points in a 76-71 win against Pacific Lutheran on Tuesday and tallied a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the loss to Linfield.

Broughton, also a former Blazer, has only appeared in one game for Evergreen State and didn’t get on the scoresheet. Brown also suited up for Centralia College last season and has yet to appear in a game. Dowie is a former Tenino Beaver and has not played in a game this season.

Evergreen is 3-1 this season and hosts St. Martin’s University in an exhibition game on Sunday before playing a Cascade Collegiate Conference game against Oregon Tech next Friday in Olympia.

Hodges Bailey, Lewis & Clark State College

Bailey sat out last season after transferring from The Master’s University and is making the most of his time on the court this season in Lewiston. The former Centralia Tiger has started all nine games for the Warriors and averages 9.8 points per game. He scored a season-high 26 points in a 102-96 win against Northwest Christian on Oct. 25. Bailey poured in 14 points in a 98-47 win against Portland Bible College on Nov. 15.

Lewis & Clark State College is ranked No. 14 in the latest NAIA men’s basketball poll and travels to Helena, Mont., on Friday to play Carroll.

Cody Young, Lower Columbia

After an up-and-down freshman season, Cody Young has started the season off strong for the Red Devils. Young, a former Adna Pirate, has started all three games for Lower Columbia this season, averaging 7.7 points per game and has had at least three assists in all three games.

He scored a season-high 15 points in an 80-70 win against Bellevue on Nov. 16.

Young and Lower Columbia faced Olympic and Centralia played Everett on Friday in the Red Devil Classic. Centralia and Lower Columbia will play against to be determined opponents on Saturday and Sunday in the eight-team tournament.

Kenya Lorton, Montana State University Northern

Lorton had two quality seasons at Lower Columbia and now finds herself in the heart of Big Sky country at Montana State University Northern.

The former Adna Pirate has played in all six games for the Skylights this season, averaging 6.2 points per game and earning double digit minutes in each game. She scored a season-high 17 points and four steals in a 69-43 win against Corban on Nov. 15 and grabbed six rebounds in a 63-50 win against Mount Royal University on Oct. 20.

MSU Northern is 6-0 this season and played Yellowstone Christian College on Friday. The Skylights will take on University of Montana Western on Thursday.

Madison Crews, Eastern Oregon University

Crews gets gyms and Twitter hyped with her basketball performances for the Mountaineers. The former Centralia Tiger has started three of seven games this season and averages 2.7 points per game.

Crews tallied a season-high eight points and five rebounds in a 70-69 loss to Whitworth on Nov. 22. She scored five points in nine minutes in a 63-60 loss to Whitman on Nov. 5.

Eastern Oregon played in the Lady Yote Classic on Friday and Saturday in Caldwell, Idaho, before heading home to take on Multnomah in a Cascade Collegiate Conference game on Friday.

Melissa Lee, Courtney Bennett, Oregon Tech

Two former Lewis County ballers have joined forces on the court in Klamath Falls.

Bennett, a former W.F. West Bearcat, has played in six of seven games for the Owls this season. The freshman has only scored in two games this season, collecting six points in 16 minutes in an 82-60 loss to The Master’s University on Nov. 2. She scored five points and grabbed three rebounds in an 83-22 win against Northwest Indian College last Saturday.

Lee has only played in three of seven games with one start. She scored six points in her only start in a 74-58 loss to William Jessup on Nov. 1. The sophomore from Napavine scored a season-high 12 points in a 71-65 win against Simpson on Nov. 16.

Oregon Tech is 3-4 this season and played Cal Maritime on Saturday and Pacific Union on Sunday before coming to Olympia on Friday to take on Evergreen State in a Cascade Collegiate Conference game.

Mollie Olson, Western Washington University

Olson has been playing significant minutes for the Vikings so far this season. The former Napavine Tiger has played in all six games this season and averages 3.8 points per game.

She scored a season-high nine points in 34 minutes in a 62-41 win against the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs on Nov. 23. She scored four points in wins against Fresno Pacific and Western Colorado.

Western is 4-2 this season and takes on Simon Fraser out of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, on Tuesday.

Kiara Steen, Wenatchee Valley College

Wenatchee Valley is looking to make it back-to-back NWAC basketball titles this season and Kiara Steen is hoping to win her third straight championship in Wenatchee.

The former Bearcat has started in five of six games this season, averaging 23.8 minutes per game and 4.2 points per game.

She scored a season-high seven points in a 61-52 win against Treasure Valley on Nov. 16 and tallied six points in a 97-55 win against Chemeketa on Nov. 22.

Wenatchee Valley is 5-1 this season and will face Peninsula next Friday at 2 p.m. in Lakewood in the Pierce College Holiday Classic.

Ava Nelson, Pacific Lutheran University, Volleyball

Nelson is an alum of Mossyrock and has continued her stellar volleyball play at the collegiate level in Tacoma.

In her sophomore season, she had a season-high six assists on Nov. 2 against Pacific in a 3-1 win. Nelson had 10 digs on Nov. 1 against Lewis & Clark College in a 3-1 win and tallied two kills on Oct. 11 in 3-2 win.

The Lutes finished the season 17-11 overall and 10-6 in Northwest Conference gamess.

Paige Moorcroft, Lower Columbia College, Volleyball

Moorcroft just wrapped up her two year career at Lower Columbia College on the volleyball court.

She had a season-high five kills and 6.5 points in a 3-0 loss against Pierce. Moorcroft, a Mossyrock alum, recorded an assist, an ace and two digs in a 2-0 win against Mt. Hood in the NWAC volleyball championships.

The Red Devils were 25-15 overall and 8-4 in West Region matches. Lower Columbia made the NWAC tournament but fell to Spokane and Tacoma to end their season.

Chase Van Wyck, Eastern Oregon University, Football

He was a monster on the football field for Napavine and has continued that at Eastern Oregon University for the Mountaineers.

The redshirt junior linebacker was a first team All-Frontier Conference selection. He had 3.5 sacks and seven tackles for loss. He was third on the team with 58 tackles and recovered one fumble and blocked three kicks.

EOU was 4-7 overall in 2019.

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