Saturday’s Boys Basketball: Well-Prepared Indians Beat Willapa Valley for District Title
FINE TUNED: Defense, Outside Shooting Lead Toledo to 58-37 Win for First District Championship Since 2014
By Aaron VanTuyl
For The Chronicle
The Indians were ready, and everything went according to plan on Saturday night.
The only real surprise in the District 4 2B championship game was the margin of victory.
Toledo’s two man-to-man stars kept Willapa Valley’s top two guards in check. The defense limited the Vikings to just 11 points over the middle quarters. The offense was efficient in the first half and hot from outside in the second half.
And for the first time since moving to the 2B classification in 2014, the Indians cut down the nets at W.F. West High School with a 58-37 win over Willapa Valley.
“We’ve been waiting to get a district title back to Toledo for a while now,” said senior Andreas Malunat. “It’s just exhilarating that we have it.”
Toledo played for district titles in 2015 and 2017, coming up short against Morton-White Pass and Life Christian, respectively. Fano Arceo-Hansen, this year’s Central 2B League MVP, was one of the few current Indians to see the court two years ago.
“Then I was with a different squad of guys, and I’ve been with these guys since fourth grade, so it was a little more tight-knit,” he said. “This is my last year, and we went out with a bang for districts.”
Malunat and Arceo-Hansen both played a big role in Saturday’s win. Malunat buried six three-pointers to score a game-high 22 points, while Arceo-Hansen held high-scoring Viking guard Matt Pearson — carrying a 19-a-game scoring average into districts — to six points.
Hayden Farbo, the Indians’ other defensive star, held the Vikings’ other standout guard, Logan Walker, to 12 points.
“We knew they had two really good players in Pearson and Walker, and we have two stellar defenders in Fano and Hayden,” Malunat said. “We just said alright, you two are gonna lock them down, and that’s what we did.”
The Vikings led 13-10 after a quarter, but the Indians hit their offensive stride in the second.
Arceo-Hansen hit a three-pointer to break a 16-16 tie, and Brian Wood knocked down back-to-back threes at the end of the quarter to send Toledo into halftime with a 27-18 lead.
Still, the Indians were just 4 of 15 from long range in the first half.
“We had some open looks in the first half, and we were just kind of waiting for them to start going in,” Malunat said. “We knew to keep looking for the open looks, keep skipping the ball, set good screens, be patient, and they’ll go in — and they did.”
Malunat hit a pair of threes in the third frame and the Indians ended the quarter on an 8-0 run — capped off with a triple from Bryce Marcil — to lead by 18 heading into the fourth, and the Vikings wouldn’t get closer than 15 the rest of the way.
On the sidelines, meanwhile, Toledo coach Grady Fallon finally noticed the lead.
“I wasn’t expecting a 20-point win, that’s for sure,” he said, noting that he was more focused on the details of each possession. “I was micromanaging everything, and finally at one point I looked up, and I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ I nudged (assistant coach Tony Zamorano), like, ‘We’re gonna do this!’”
It was the first district championship for Fallon, who took over as head coach prior to the 2014-15 season.
“I’m so proud of these guys. They’re a great group of kids, and all those seniors, we talked about, this is a moment you want your whole life, and go out and seize the moment, and they did,” Fallon said. “Going to state’s a great experience and all, but this is different — a little bit sweeter, just another thing to add to their experience.”
Westin Wallace added eight points and eight rebounds for Toledo, while Marcil finished with seven points. The Indians finished 10 of 25 from long range and 21 of 43 (49 percent) from the field, while outrebounding Willapa Valley 23-16 and turning the ball over just six times.
Toledo (21-2) had already sealed a regional playoff bid, and with its top-eight ranking on the WIAA’s RPI board will be granted a berth into the State 2B tournament in Spokane regardless of the outcome of its regional game.
As of Saturday night, the Indians were No. 3 on the RPI board, while Willapa Valley (19-5) was No. 6 — but with No. 4 Colfax already eliminated from the playoffs. The board will be updated as final scores are posted and regional matchups should be finalized by Tuesday.
INDIANS 58, VIKINGS 37
Toledo 10 17 15 16 —58
W. Valley 13 5 6 13 —37
Toledo (58) — Wood 6, Marcil 7, F. Arceo-Hansen 15, Wallace 8, Farbo, Malunat 22
FG: 21 of 43 —.488 FT: 6 of 9 —.667 Reb. 23 (Wallace 8)
Willapa Valley (37) — C. Pearson 3, Walker 12, Adkins 3, Buchanan 4, Hamilton 4, Flemetis 3, Pearson 6, Simpson 2
FG: 13 of 34 —.382 FT: 4 of 4 —1.000 Reb. 16 (Hamilton, Walker 6)