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There’s expectation that Eastyn Reeves and Alexis Kleven will each make a strong case for league MVP. Both lived up to expectations.

Kelso beat R.A. Long 70-30 in a nonleague girls’ basketball game at Kelso on Friday, with Kleven and Reeves dazzling a full crowd. Reeves finished with 14 points and Kleven scored 18 points, both team-highs.

“First game, we had some jitters we had to get out,” Kelso coach Jen Hamilton said. “We had a young lineup starting for us and the number one thing is we’re going to rely on our good shooters. We have some pretty phenomenal shooters, and what we struggled with in the first half is getting that open shot with a dribble penetration.”

Kelso relied on passing over the first 24 minutes, something Hamilton doesn’t believe will be the ticket to success this season. Not with Kleven breaking down multiple defenders en route to a lay-in, something she made look easy a few times.

The Lumberjills made it tough on Kelso early, though, the score tight at 16-14 after the first quarter. RAL was finding looks for its starters and playing solid interior defense. By halftime, Kelso led 39-21 and solidified its win.

“The first quarter (was good); that’s about it,” RAL coach Jan Karnoski said. “We were just outplayed defensively, offensively.”

Karnoski tipped his cap to Kelso, while noting that the Jills offense was out of sync and moving a little fast.

The Jills looked like a team that’s grown, to be sure, and Karnoski cited issues with easy fixes as one of the reasons they lagged behind.

Miranda Lomax scored four points for the Jills, as did Myah Bodily. Natalie Fraley scored 12 points for the Lassies, and Capri Franzen scored nine points.

Kelso boys 66, R.A. Long boys 44

The Kelso boys also finished the night with a nonleague win to open the doubleheader, led by Shaw Anderson’s 27 points and two highlight-reel dunks. The Hilanders led the Lumberjacks 40-17 at the half before R.A. Long nearly matched Kelso’s point total in the second half.

Riley Noah added 21 points for Kelso, while the Jacks saw 11 points from Tanner Rybnikar and eight points from Jadon Williamson.

“I thought in the first half we were great with the ball,” Kelso coach Joe Kinch said. “We had only four turnovers and we shot well. We played really well in the first half. That’s not to take away from R.A. Long’s second half, I think R.A. Long did some nice things and adjusted, I was just really pleased with our ability to take care of the ball.”

Ball security was a point of emphasis for the Scots, Kinch said, also noting Dillon Davis giving coaches confidence after his 11-assist outing.

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Sports Reporter

Jason is a journeyman sports reporter who has covered the Golden State Warriors, Oakland A's, along with a heavy emphasis on the Oakland Raiders. He comes to Cowlitz County from Oakland, Calif. and is a loving father.

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