Wednesday’s College Basketball: Centralia’s Balanced Scoring Helps Blazers Crush Grays Harbor
By The Chronicle
Centralia had five players in double figures to help the Blazers earn a 101-80 win over Grays Harbor in an NWAC West Region men’s basketball game here on Wednesday.
Liam Murphy led the Blazers with 17 points and four assists. Marqus Gilson added 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three blocks and Collin Prangley added 15 points.
Tyler Ashmore came off the bench and scored 13 points and Nathan Hoff chipped in 12 points.
Zyare Ruffin scored 25 points to lead all scorers and Carl Fisher Jr. added 17 points for the Chokers.
“They did good. They stuck to the game plan, started off a little rocky,” Centralia coach Jason Moir said. “We haven’t seen a lot of presses and stuff so it was a little bit of an adjustment early on but once we kind of figured it out and got some guys in the middle and down the sideline, we kind of did a little better job of taking care of what we needed to.”
The biggest difference was from behind the arc, with the Blazers knocking down 10 shots from behind the arc while Grays Harbor made just five of their 3-pointers. Centralia also had 37 points off the bench while Grays Harbor received just 11 points from their bench.
It was a back and forth opening half with the Blazers leading 48-40 at intermission. Centralia was able to open up a big lead in the second half and cruise to the win.
“Regardless of what we did in the preseason, everything starts today. It’s great to get a win in our house and stay undefeated so far in league,” Moir said. “That’s what we’ve got to do is just focus on these next 13 games now.”
With a big lead in hand in the second half, Michael Brown checked into the game and scored five points to send the crowd and Centralia bench into a frenzy.
“It’s great. Mike had an opportunity last year without some of the depth that we have this year,” Moir said. “It’s awesome to have him come out there and be able to get that shot off. He’s a great shooter, I’m surprised he missed the other ones so hopefully we can continue to do this and give him an opportunity to be out there on the floor.”
Centralia (11-5, 1-0) faces Lower Columbia on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Longview in a West Region matchup.
Centralia’s Big Third Quarter Leads to Victory Over Grays Harbor
Centralia scored 24 points in the third quarter to pull away from Grays Harbor and hang on for a 66-54 win in an NWAC West Region women’s basketball game at Michael Smith Gymnasium in Centralia on Wednesday.
Piper Cai led all scorers with 18 points for the Blazers and Caitlin Yenne recorded 14 points. The biggest spark for the Blazers was Allani Talapu, coming off the bench and scoring 16 points, knocking down three of six shots from behind the arc.
“Defense was awesome, you saw how aggressive Piper Cai and Caitlin Yenne are, they just make a huge difference. Biggest swing for us was when Allani (Talapu),” Centralia coach Caleb Sells said. “She doesn’t play a whole lot so far this year but in that third quarter, she showed how special she is. She came in and gave us a spark and really gave us that lead we were fortunately able to hang on to down the stretch.”
It was the opening West Region game for the Blazers and they knew it was a big one.
“I can’t tell you how big that win is for us right there, especially the way we come out, boy, I was awfully nervous,” Sells said. “We calmed down and we did it with defense. The offense came eventually. It just took us a while to calm down and get the jitters, we air balled three or four balls to start the game so you could just tell the jitters were there.”
The jitters held Centralia to just seven points in the first quarter, but the Blazers were able to shake it off and score 17 points in the second quarter, with Talapu hitting a shot before the buzzer for a 24-22 lead at halftime.
Centralia scored 24 points in the third quarter by making six of 10 shots from behind the arc and shooting 50 percent from the field to lead 48-33 after three quarters. Grays Harbor made a push in the fourth, cutting the lead to single digits but were never able to close the gap as Centralia held on for the win.
“We’ve played all the best teams in the NWAC in the preseason to get us ready for games like this but the girls know this was a huge one,” Sells said. “These guys won the league last year, that’s a really good team and for us to scrap back and win, you’ve got to protect your home floor and the girls, for a bunch of freshman, really buckled up and did that tonight.”
Centralia (7-8, 1-0) faces Lower Columbia on Saturday at 5 p.m. in a West Region game in Longview.
BLAZERS 101, CHOKERS 80
Grays Harbor 40 40 —80
Centralia 48 53 —101
Grays Harbor (80) — Spencer 6, Garner 12, Ruffin 25, Fischer Jr 17, Brimhall 9, Barnes 2, Sampson 6, Watson 3
FG: 25 of 61 —.41 FT: 25 of 30 —.833 Reb: 39
Centralia (101) — Dixon 7, Prangley 15, Murphy 17, Gilson 16, Stanley 9, Price 5, Brown 5, Hoff 12, Ashmore 13, Harding 2
FG: 34 of 74 —.459 FT: 23 of 30 —.767 Reb: 32 (Dixon, Gilson 8)
BLAZERS 66, CHOKERS 54
Grays Harbor 14 8 11 21 —54
Centralia 7 17 24 18 —66
Grays Harbor (54) — Teel 4, Armstrong 12, Hernandez 7, Kidder 17, Byrd 5, Tovia 3, Dyer 2, Webster 4
FG: 22 of 51 —.431 FT: 7 of 12 —.583 Reb: 30
Centralia (66) — Cai 18, Yenne 14, Elwood 1, Nurmi 9, Talapu 16, Wilkerson 4, Christian 4
FG: 22 of 58 —.379 FT: 15 of 19 —.789 Reb: 26 (Cai 7)