RAINIER — A steely defensive effort by the Columbians secured a 69-41 win over Taft in 3A Coastal Range boys basketball action over in Oregon on Tuesday.
Rainier held the Tigers under ten points in three periods including a measly four points in the opening quarter to establish its dominance early.
“We talked about being attentive, aggressive, and assertive for tonight,” Rainier coach Jared Baughman said. “We did that for three quarters.”
In the third quarter, though, the Tigers pried the lid off the basket and went off for 23 points as a team to claw back within earshot of contention. The score stood at 36-27 during the intermission.
“We have to give Taft credit for the second quarter,” Baughman said. “They made a great adjustment that I had not prepared us for. I was proud of our guys for making our own adjustments during halftime and then executing them.”
Kenny Tripp led Rainier with 19 points. Josh Ellis added 12 points in the win and Daunte McGill chipped in nine.
“It was a great overall team performance. We keep getting better offensively each day and it was nice to see the players being rewarded for their hard work in practices,” Baughman said. “Nic George and Brennan Tompkins especially played a great game.”
George and Tompkins each added eight points and five steals, with George hauling in nine rebounds and two steals while Tompkins snagged six boards and swiped three steals.
Ilwaco finds groove to beat Chief Leschi
ILWACO — Strong performances on both sides of the ball in the second and third quarter propelled Ilwaco to a 67-34 win over Chief Leschi on Tuesday in a Pacific 2B League game.
The Warriors stuck with the Fishermen in the early part of the game, but Ilwaco still led 13-10 at the end of the first quarter.
“The Warriors came out with some aggressive man defense and really tried to pressure the ball, which led to (us) playing a little sloppy in the first,” Ilwaco coach Brady Turner said.
Ilwaco settled in and figured things out in the second as they excelled on both sides of the ball and outscored Chief Leschi 22-5 in the second to take a 35-15 halftime lead.
“In the second we picked up the pace a little and started finishing at the hoop,” Turner said. “We pressured them and it led to some easy layups.”
The Fishermen picked up right where they left off in the third and broke off a 24-4 run that ran the length of the quarter to jump out to a 59-19 lead going into the fourth. With the big lead, the Fisherman were able to get some fresh faces some experience on the court.
“In the fourth quarter we were able to turn to our bench and I thought they played great, despite Chief Leschi trying to pick back up the pressure on defense,” Turner said. “Everyone on the team contributed and scored some points.”
Jaden and Beckett turner were the leading scorers for the Fisherman with 15 and 12 points, respectively. Jaden turned in an all-around performance with 13 rebounds to notch a double-double as well as seven assists.
Gaston Dillon led the Warriors with 12 points.
Ilwaco (7-3) was back on the road to play North Beach at 7:05 p.m., Wednesday, in Ocean Shores.
Naselle perfect no more
MENLO — The Naselle boys basketball team tasted defeat for the first time in 15 months on Tuesday, wrapping up its regular season with a 59-53 loss at Willapa Valley.
“Valley just wanted it a little bit more than us,” Naselle coach Bill Olsen said. “We can make all the excuses we want, but that doesn’t win ball games.”
The Vikings took the lead for good in the third quarter, stretching it out as far as 12 points, and despite a furious comeback bid that saw Kolby Glenn score half of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter, the visitors couldn’t make it all the way back.
Glenn also forced nine steals on defense. Warren Wirkkala pitched in 11 points, while Kolten Lindstrom scored nine and hauled in eight rebounds.
But for the most part, the hosts dominated the glass, and that was enough to sway the game drastically.
“We forced them into 19 turnovers, and we only had eight ourselves, so we probably should have won the game,” Olsen said. “But they outrebounded us badly. There were a lot of trips down there where they got five or six shots and ended up going to the line or getting it in the hoop.”
Despite holding a slim lead much of the way through the middle of the third quarter, Naselle, struggled to get its shots to fall, and eventually, that let Willapa Valley charge back.
As a team, the Comets shot 17-of-64 from the field — barely 27%.
“That’s not going to win a lot of games, either,” Olsen said.
Naselle jumped out to a very early 6-0 lead, but Riley Pearson charged Valley back by himself, with a pair of 3-pointers and a long two in quick succession.
“We knew about him, we talked about him before the game, but we didn’t pay attention to him in that first quarter,” Olsen said.
From there, the Vikings asserted their dominance down low, led by the 6-foot, 6-inch Beau Buchanan in the post.
And as the game went on, Willapa Valley started to crack Naselle’s trademark pressure, setting up transition buckets.
“They made a couple nice passes, broke our press down, and got some layups,” Olsen said.
The result put the Comets and Vikings in a tie for first place in the 1B Columbia Valley League; to add insult to injury, Willapa Valley won the tie-breaking coin toss on the court that followed, taking the top seed into next week’s postseason.
Naselle (11-1) will get a week off, and then a bit more before opening the 1B District Tournament against a side from the Coastal League.
“It’s a good, good bunch of kids,” Olsen said. “I expect them to bounce back with vengeance.”