Tuesday’s Boys Basketball: Wolves Make Themselves at Home in the Bearcat Den
Bad Blood: W.F. West Can’t Contain Black Hills’ Big Shooters
By Jordan Nailon
The Bearcats and Black Hills boys basketball teams are no strangers to one another, and as they say, familiarity breeds contempt.
As foes in the Evergreen 2A Conference they face off for at least one pair of high stakes games every season. Last season the two teams met one extra time on a big stage when they played for the final spot to state out of the District IV tournament. A last second shot by the Bearcats that rattled home in that contest sent W.F. West on their way to a Cinderella second place finish at the big dance.
That stinging loss doesn’t seem to have sat too well with the Wolves over the offseason and they have clearly imprinted the Bearcats as their natural adversary on the hardwood.
On Tuesday night Black Hills exacted a bit of revenge on W.F. West when they came back from a seven point second half deficit to knock off the Bearcats 68-61 and earn their fourth conference victory in as many tries.
W.F. West never trailed in the first quarter and held an 18-16 lead heading into the second frame thanks in part to early buckets from Leandre Gaines and Colton Baker. Black Hills used a mess of well-timed three pointers to take over the lead for a stretch in the second quarter but a three-quarter court heave just before the buzzer from Kayden Kelly banked its way home and gave the Bearcats a 33-29 advantage heading into the half.
By that point the game had already begun to develop cracks in its veneer where glimpses of the pent up bad blood on both sides was beginning to boil over. On one box out after a free throw a Bearcat was tossed to the floor like a rag doll before a bunch of hemming-and-hawing ensued. On another play a Black Hills player caught the full brunt of a diving Bearcat who joined a floor-bound scrum a little late in order to pry for a loose ball.
All the while players on both sides were finding the time to jaw at each other while getting their respective fan bases all fired up. The extra words and elbows even extended into the postgame handshake line before a rooster necking scrum of players was broken up by a swarm of coaches from both teams.
“I think both teams get very motivated. We see each other a lot in the summertime too so we just really get tired of seeing each other and hungry to get the leg up on each other,” explained W.F. West coach Chris White. “It’s definitely a very competitive rivalry.”
Both teams came out of their locker rooms feeling themselves but W.F. West appeared to hold the advantage in the early returns as Colby White put on a fine-touch finishing display near the basket. After a series of finger rolls and kissed-glass leaners he’d collected eight points in the quarter. He’d wind up with nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds in the game.
Gaines was also making dividends for W.F. West in the second half as a patient approach on the low block sent defenders soaring out of the picture and the basket went unblocked. Gaines finished tied with Baker for a team-high 13 points in the contest.
“The game plan was to get it into the post and get it inside more and I think we succeeded in that in the third quarter and getting the post the ball and shooting mostly layups,” noted White.
Still, the Wolves shooters continued to stay hot in the second half and they began to chip away at their deficit. Jackson Bauer turned in a double-double for Black Hills with a game-high 25 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Weston Ainsworth knocked down a series of big time long balls and finished with 14 points while Zach Crumley and Gabe Wright scored nine points each.
“We expected them to probably start throwing in some of their press schemes and half court traps and stuff. Really we didn’t do too bad with that stuff. I think we had 12 turnovers so it wasn’t too crazy,” said White.
Black Hills retook the lead nearly instantaneously in the final quarter and then ran their lead out to 59-52 before the Bearcats mounted a comeback of their own. First Baker hit a shot and then Kelly earned a pair of points with three minutes left in the game. With 2:30 remaining in the contest Tyler Speck tied the game at 59-59 with a bullseye three pointer that sent the Bearcats student section into a tizzy.
However, that would be the final whiff of victory on the night for W.F. West as turnovers, missed shots and a parade of dialed in free throw attempts by the Wolves put distance between the two teams for good.
“I feel like they hit like four threes in five possessions and that’s tough to deal with. But then we got down to 59-all and we just had a tough time executing,” said White.
Indeed. Black Hills hit 11 of 25 long ball attempts for a 44 percent connection rate on the night, while shooting 40 percent from the field overall.
After riding their bigs all game long White found himself wishing his team hadn’t gone away from that formidable combination in the post.
“The shot selection at the end was not ideal for us but that’s something that we can talk about and work on,” said White. “Down the stretch we wanted to get it inside but we struggled to do that, unfortunately. I think we were five for 20 from three in that game so that shows how much we’d like to go inside.”
With a 25 percent shooting clip from downtown as their burden the Bearcats were still able to hit 25 of their 58 attempts for a 43 percent shooting percentage.
Tyler Speck added 10 points to the W.F. West tally.
The Bearcats will face extra adversity in their next contest when the game tips off with Centralia in the Hardwood Swamp Cup. With that in mind White was wasting little time getting his charges refocused for the Twin City rivalry game de jour.
“Centralia doesn’t really care that you lost and you’ve just got to claw back. It’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint,” said White. “The league’s still a heckuva fight. We’ll see what happens but we’re confident that we can finish in the top four and we’ll keep trying to climb as high as we can.”
W.F. West (5-9, 2-3) will look to bounce back against the Tigers at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
Tigers Get Hot Late to Put Rochester on Ice
Centralia used a 21-point fourth quarter in which they allowed just ten points to cement a 59-49 victory over Rochester here at Ron Brown Court on Tuesday night in an early 2A Evergreen boys basketball episode.
Michael Ajoge posted a double-double with a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead Centralia over Rochester’s road warriors.
The Tigers bested Rochester in both field goal percentage and free throw percentage while also earning a 21-16 edge in the all-important rebounding department. Still, Rochester got the best of the Tigers 12-9 in the second quarter and Centralia held just a one point lead heading into the final quarter of play.
“At times tonight we were a little bit flat footed but in the fourth quarter they really decided to pick it up,” said Centralia coach Kyle Donahue. “At the end we just worked the ball around and got a lot of good inside looks. Ajoge got really aggressive on the boards and got some good rebounds and putbacks that he got fouled on and knocked down the free throws to put it away.”
Malakai Emmons added 17 points, a collection of blocks and six steals for Centralia while Matt House scored a dozen points.
Senior guard Andrew Kahn drilled a trio of three point shots in an instant offense role off the bench near the end of the third quarter to earn the praise of his coach.
“Rochester was sitting back in a zone and really daring us to shoot it from deep so I thought it was a good time to sneak Andrew in,” said Donahue. He noted that his tactically deployed sharpshooter provided a momentum boost that carried over into that decisive fourth quarter.
Donahue added kudos for one of his defensive minded seniors that helped to wane the Warriors offense down the stretch.
“Nate Crews did a really good job of coming in and shutting down a couple of their players that we asked him to,” said Donahue.
Patrick Riley paced Rochester with 18 points while Enrique Sanchez chipped in nine points. Blake Moen and Daniel May eah scored seven points for the Warriors.
“It was a really good high school basketball game. We did a good job with the game plan for 3 ½ quarters. Those last few minutes, the ball didn’t bounce our way and we had a couple lapses in execution,” Rochester coach Mark Goldrick said. “It was a good game, we played hard. It was a fun game, close all the way through, a pretty good night.”
On Thursday Centralia (2-12, 1-3 conference) will play at W.F. West, while Rochester (2-12, 1-3) will host Aberdeen.
Raymond Drops Pe Ell
PE ELL — Jeremiah Yost recorded a double-double for Pe Ell, but it wasn’t enough as Raymond earned a 62-44 win in a Pacific 2B League boys basketball game here on Tuesday.
Yost recorded 13 points and 10 rebounds. Carson Cox added 10 points and Kobe Hoffman chipped in eight points.
Tre Seydel led all scorers with 16 points. Devine Souvannavanh chipped in 12 points and McCartney Maden added 10 points for the Seagulls.
The Trojans had trouble shooting, shooting just 32 percent from the field while Raymond knocked down 43 percent of their field goals.
Raymond jumped out to a 19-10 lead after one quarter, but the Trojans played better in the second quarter to trail just 30-21 at halftime.
The Seagulls scored 20 points in the third quarter to pull away and cruise to the win in the fourth quarter.
“I think we played crappy, I really do. That’s the second time we’ve played them and we’ve played horrible both times,” Pe Ell coach Chris Fitzgerald said. “We didn’t have any energy. It was a dull game, hardly any fouls. Neither team made it to the bonus situation. It was an ugly, quick game.”
Pe Ell (0-15, 0-13) travels to Ilwaco on Friday for a P2BL game.
Warriors Top Vikings
PUYALLUP — Chief Leschi scored 23 points in the first quarter and never looked back, earning a 72-35 win over Mossyrock in a non-league boys basketball game here on Monday.
Gunner Mulligan and Luis Hilario-Garcia led the Vikings with 12 points each.
Darnell Lewis Jr. scored 10 points to lead the Warriors.
The Warriors scored 40 points in the first half and added 21 in the third quarter to put the game away for good.
Despite the loss, Mossyrock coach Jordan Hunter thought his team had a quality performance.
“Without our seniors that we’re still going to be without for the remainder of this week, we did not have a lot of experience ball players,” Hunter said. “We were able to get into our offense and ran most of our sets well. Defensively, we did a pretty good job. It’s all part of the learning process when you’ve got 14, 15 year olds playing varsity ball.”
Hunter noted Ryan Bellino’s performance, saying he was happy with the way Bellino attacked the basket and got to the free throw line.
Mossyrock (0-14, 0-5) travels to Napavine on Wednesday for a Central 2B League game.
WOLVES 68, BEARCATS 61
Black Hills 16 13 18 21 —68
W.F. West 18 15 16 12 —61
Black Hills (68) — Bauer 25, Armin 4, Inman 5, Crumley 9, Wright 9, Ainsworth 14, Loveless 2
FG: 23 of 57 —.403 FT: 11 of 21 —.520 Reb: 39 (Bauer 10)
W.F. West (61) — Kelly 7, Jones 1, Hazen 2, Yarter 6, Gaines 13, Speck 10, Baker 13, White 9
FG: 25 of 58 —.300 FT: 6 of 8 —.677 Reb: 35 (White 10)
TIGERS 59, ROCHESTER 49
Rochester 13 12 14 10 —49
Centralia 17 9 12 21 —59
Rochester (49) — Sanchez 9, Riley 18, Moen 8, Goldrich 7, May 7
FG: 18 of 52 —.346 FT: 4 of 7 —.571 Reb: 16
Centralia (59) — Kahn 9, Brown 1, Ajoge 19, Emmons 17, Valencia 1, House 12
FG: 21 of 50 —.420 FT: 11 of 15 —.733 Reb: 21 (Ajoge 10)
At Pe Ell
SEAGULLS 62, TROJANS 44
Raymond 19 11 20 12 —62
Pe Ell 10 11 12 11 —44
Raymond (62) — Maden 10, Seydel 16, Quintana 3, Sida 8, Enslow 5, Phimmasone 2, Villalpando 2, J. Delgado 2, Souvannananh 12, C. Delgado 2
FG: 27 of 62 —.435 FT: 2 of 2 —1.00 Reb: 34
Pe Ell (44) — Ward 3, Smith 4, Cox 10, Isham 2, Bush 4, Yost 13, Hoffman 8
FG: 19 of 59 —.322 FT: 4 of 6 —.667 Reb: 21 (Yost 10)
WARRIORS 72, VIKINGS 35
Mossyrock 8 12 8 7 —35
Chief Leschi 23 17 21 7 —72
Mossyrock (35) — Mulligan 12, Hilario-Garcia 12, Bellino 6, Weist 2, Mendoza 1, Gomez 2
FG: N/A FT: 13 of 27 —.481 Reb: N/A
Chief Leschi (72) — Lee 8, Fossella 6, Gower 7, Lewis Jr. 10, Lacey 2, Ka. Baker 8, Horton 4, Durr-Schaffer Jr. 1, Ke. Baker 8, Keesy 2
FG: N/A FT: 11 of 16 —.687 Reb: N/A