Garrett Berger of Mark Morris exploded for 30 points to claim the boys MVP, and Ilwaco’s Makenzie Kaech won girls MVP accolades with 19 points at the 19th annual Lower Columbia Area High School All-Star games held Tuesday in Myklebust Gym at Lower Columbia College.
Berger, who also had eight rebounds and two assists, helped the White team to a 115-84 win over the Red. Kaech, who finished a rebound shy of a double-double with nine caroms and four assists, led the White to a 64-50 win over the Red.
BOYS — White 115, Red 84: After scoring nine points in the first half, Berger found his stride in the final 20 minutes.
“I found a rhythm,” he said. “I started out missing some shots, but I stayed with it until I found my shot. Once I got into the flow of the game, I gained confidence.”
Berger scored 15 points in the 10 minutes after halftime, including a long 3-pointer which gave the White a 73-61 lead with 15:30 remaining. Through the final 20 minutes, he made 8-14 shots.
“If I had a smaller guy defending me, I’d try to take advantage of it when I got the ball,” he said. “Everyone knows I can shoot, so they were giving it up to me.”
Berger is keeping his options open when it comes to selecting a collegiate destination. He’s talked with a number of schools in the Northwest, including teams in the Northwest Athletic Conference.
“I’m not going to make a quick decision, but I like it here (LCC),” he said. “They have nice facilities and it’s close to home.”
Five other White teammates scored in double-figures.
Also for the White, Cam Swanson of Toutle Lake had 19 points and six rebounds, Vernonia’s Clay Sullivan had 16 points and five rebounds, and Adna’s Cody Young added 13 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Toutle’s Nate Hoff had 13 points, five rebounds and five assists, Kelso’s Jon Bowlby added 10 points and seven rebounds, and MM’s Tanner Vaillencourt grabbed five rebounds.
Rainier’s Caymon Rea led the Red with 18 points and six rebounds, Toledo’s Reece Wallace added 16 points and six rebounds, and MM’s Zach Rismoen had 13 points and four rebounds. Kelso’s Emmitt Kinch had 10 points and six rebounds, teammate Anders Gamble grabbed six rebounds, and Woodland’s Palmer Dinehart and Junior Arroyo of Toleo pulled nine and eight rebounds, respectively.
GIRLS — White 64, Red 50: Like Berger in the boys’ game, Kaech found her stride in the second half of the girls’ contest, scoring 11 points in the final 20 minutes.
“My teammates gave me a lot of good passes, and led me well on the run,” said Kaech, who has committed to play at St. Martin’s University in Lacey beginning this fall. “They encouraged me to keep shooting.”
After battling the Red to a 23-all tie at halftime, the White came out of the locker room on a roll which included a 13-0 run midway through the third quarter for a 40-28 lead. During the stretch, Kaech netted one shot and made a pair of freebies.
“We decided to buckle down on defense and play more of the run game while using both ends of the floor to our advantage,” she said.
The Red cut its deficit to 48-43 with 7:05 left in the final quarter, but a 9-0 run from the White which including a putback layup and a 3-ball from Kaech put the game out of reach two minutes later.
“It helped to have Madeline (Jacobson) and Eliza (Bannister, both Ilwaco teammates) on the team, and I’ve played with Mollie (Olson of Napavine) before,” Kaech said. “I’ve known a lot of the other girls from AAU ball.”
Olson finished with 16 points, and Bannister added eight. Alexis Troy of Mark Morris grabbed 17 rebounds, Jacobson pulled 11 rebounds, and MM’s Kalina Makaiwi and Kelso’s Turner Joy grabbed six rebounds apiece.
For the Red, Mossyrock’s Stephanie Fried had 10 points, Napavine’s Melissa Lee added seven points and 11 rebounds, and Woodland’s Dana Glovick had seven points. MM’s Libby Bartleson grabbed nine rebounds, and Rainier’s Desirae Hansen had nine rebounds and three assists.