Prep Boys Basketball: 2B Squad Shoots Its Way to All-Star Win

Images from the Southwest Washington Senior All-Star Boys Basketball Game at Michael Smith Gymnasium on the campus of Centralia College on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.

FIRING: Blue Squad Hoists 62 Three-Pointers in 91-86 Win Over Whites at SWW Senior All-Star Game

By Aaron VanTuyl

For The Chronicle

The Blue squad, with a roster chock-full of 2B talent, didn’t have any illusions about beating up their larger school counterparts in the paint.

And their strategy to fire away from deep fit the all-star game setting just about perfectly.

The Blues hoisted up 62 attempts from long range on Wednesday night, converting 19 of them en route to a 91-86 win in the Southwest Washington Senior All-Star Game at Centralia College.

“It was one of those things. I looked at warmups, and I was watching all the 2A players dunking it, and then I saw us shooting from 15 feet — pull-up jumpers,” Morton-White Pass coach Chad Cramer, who led the Blue team, said afterwards. “I knew maybe points in the paint wouldn’t come easy for us.”

The points in the paint didn’t, but the long threes did.

Life Christian’s Noah Robinson went 5 of 12 from long range and led the Blues with 19 points, while Toutle Lake’s Logan Grabenhorst was 5 of 13 from deep with 15 points. Toutle’s Mike Adams added 12 points and eight rebounds with a pair of key blocked shots to pick up the game’s MVP award, and Toledo’s Andreas Malunat won the halftime three-point shootout.

“It feels good. Last year I came to the game to support my buddy Reece (Wallace) and (the 2Bs) didn’t play that good,” Malunat said. “Both teams were pretty good, but I’m glad we got the win.”

The Blue squad jumped out to an early 13-point lead on its larger-school opponents, as for the second year in a row the game was played under a modified 2A-versus-2B format.

The shooting, though, cooled off. Aberdeen’s Javier Bojorge hit a three just before halftime to put the White squad up 49-47 at the break, and Michael Ajoge took over in the second half.

The Centralia senior scored 14 of his game-high 23 points for the White team in the 5 ½ minutes directly after halftime, capping his personal run with a one-handed slam on a fastbreak and adding an exclamation point to the game’s only dunk by raising the roof on his way back downcourt.

Black Hills’ Jackson Bauer and W.F. West’s Colton Baker added buckets for the White team to push their lead to 71-55 with 13 minutes left to play, before the Blues made their move.

Robinson hit a three to cut the lead to 10. Malunat hit another, and Willapa Valley’s Matt Pearson converted inside to cut the lead to five.

Adams then hit a three and converted a three-point play, and a three from Grabenhorst gave the Blues their first lead of the second half with seven minutes left.

“We had a group in there that really sparked us, and we made a nice run and started hitting some shots again,” Cramer said. “Then we subbed back out in the last five minutes, and they kept it right on going.”

Aberdeen’s Ben Dublanko hit a pair of foul shots that cut the Blues’ lead to 87-84 with 2:32 to play, but Malunat added another three with two minutes left that put the lead at six. His prep teammate Westin Wallace swatted a shot on the perimeter on the Whites’ ensuing possession, and the small-school Blues held on to win.

“You always kind of get the knock from the bigger schools, so it was nice to come out and get the W, and the kids really wanted to represent well,” Cramer said. “They seemed really anxious to get after it and prove their worth, and I thought they did that.”

Malunat went 3 of 11 from long range in the game — “I shot pretty horrible,” he admitted — but put on a show during the halftime shootout. He hit 21 in the 60-second semifinals, then edged Aberdeen’s Ben Dublanko 15-13 in the finals.

“I’m honestly the type of shooter that I’ve got to shoot them right in a row,” Malunat said. “So it worked out pretty well for me. I caught fire and might have hit eight in a row in that semifinal.”

Toledo’s Fano Arceo-Hansen grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds, and Pearson finished with 10 points. Adna’s Austen Apperson scored 11, and all 10 players scored for the Blue squad.

Dublanko and Bauer each scored 14 for the White squad, with W.F. West’s Colton Baker adding 11. W.F. West’s Colby White blocked a pair of shots and snagged 10 rebounds.

At Centralia

BLUES 91, WHITES 86

Blues 47 44 —91

Whites 49 37 —86

Blues (91) — Arceo-Hansen 2, Malunat 9, Pearson 10, Adams 12, Metzenberg 4, Apperson 11, Rashoff 5, Grabenhorst 15, Robinson 19, Wallace 4

FG: 33 of 98 —.337 FT: 6 of 9 —.667 Reb. 55 (Arceo-Hansen 13)

Whites (86) — Bauer 14, Goldrick, Ajoge 23, Hoover 2, Hunter-Holiday 2, Dublanko 14, Bojorge 9, Baker 11, Dowies 7, White 4

FG: 38 of 89 —.427 FT: 4 of 7 —.571 Reb. 52 (White 10)

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