The R.A. Long Lumberjacks emerged from the locker room after Tuesday’s Civil War basketball game with smiles and hugs for families and friends — and tracking water across the Lumberdome floor.
“Every time we get in the locker room (after a win), we drench our coach with water,” Cameron Holden said. “And then the whole locker room gets flooded and we get our feet all wet.”
The Lumberjacks closed the fourth quarter on a 16-5 run to down crosstown rival Mark Morris 55-46 for their first win in the series since 2016, snapping a five-game Civil War losing streak behind 23 points from Cavin Holden and 18 from Cameron Holden.
“It was a grinder of a game,” RAL coach Jeray Key said. “We were able to pull it out by nine, but it doesn’t indicate what the game was.”
The Holden brothers dominated the night in two different ways.
The younger Holden, Cavin, rained in seven three-pointers, some as deep as 35 feet away. He’s now had 15 treys in his first two Civil War games. After the first, Monarchs coach Bill Bakamus called him the best shooter in the county.
He backed that up Tuesday night, scoring from behind the arc even with defenders all over him.
“If he’s gonna pull from 30 feet, we gotta get out there,” Mark Morris senior Jack Shipley said. “Props to him for shooting and making ‘em.”
Elder brother Cameron, the Jacks’ primary ball-handler, grabbed 11 rebounds and a pair of steals. Down the stretch, he sliced to the cup to score, dished to a big man, or found his brother when defenders collapsed on him.
“I’m thinking my team gives me the ball so I can close out games,” Cameron Holden said. “Get my guys touches, make sure I make smart plays. It really worked out on the defensive end. It wasn’t all offense. It was defense, shutting down all the guards and Harvey and make sure I’m getting steals. We just had to be patient on offense and not foul on defense.”
Coach Key (a notable defender when he played for Bakamus at Mark Morris) couldn’t say enough about his junior guard.
“That kid, he’s got elite speed,” Key said. “Like I’ve been telling everybody, honestly I don’t know if there’s anybody who can one-on-one keep him in front. I play him one-on-one, and I was known as a good defender, but I’ll tell you even I have trouble. One of the reasons is I can put some muscle on him. Other than that, that guy’s getting by me.”
The Jacks also got contributions from Aaron Ofstun, Jadon Williamson, Jamond Harris, Jake Anderson and Ryan Plampin.
Mark Morris, which shot a sizzling 8-of-12 from the floor in the first quarter, took a 17-12 lead after the first quarter. Deacon Dietz had 4 points, Shipley had 4 points, Ashton Harvey and Cole Busch had a bucket each and Kobe Parlin hit a wild desperation contested three-pointer at the first quarter buzzer.
“I didn’t like that,” Key said. “... I challenged them to pick it up.”
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But RAL came back, forcing seven second-quarter turnovers to take a 26-20 lead just before the half. But Shipley hit a deep trey at the second-quarter buzzer, with an RAL defender draped all over him, to cut the Monarch deficit in half and send MM into the locker room with momentum.
“I just think we were out of sorts,” coach Bakamus said. “They did enough stuff to disrupt us, and we didn’t make some of the more intelligent plays that you need to win close games. I just felt like our working-together meter wasn’t where it should be.”
Mark Morris opened the third quarter with a three-pointer from Parlin on its first possession and it went into the final period down 36-35, setting up a tense fourth quarter.
Busch dropped in two and Harvey added a bucket. But Harvey, a big and burly junior, could never really get going. Ofstun and Williamson were physical with the Monarch big man, which was a point of emphasis for RAL entering the night.
“Our game plan was to double Harvey, make sure he gets no touches and get out on shooters,” Cameron Holden said. “And well, it got us the dub.”
Harvey’s bucket tied things at 39 with 6:01 to play. But Ofstun hit a pair of free throws, Cameron Holden hit his final three-pointer of the night, and he scored on consecutive possessions to help the Jacks pull away.
The win gave RAL a shot at second place in the Greater St. Helens League, which would earn it a home game in the first round of the district tournament.
However, Mark Morris is in danger of missing any form of postseason play for the first time in 51 years. They get the Spudders next, with no doubt they can win two games and keep the season alive.
“Monarch basketball,” Shipley said. “We got it.”
Mark Morris (7-11, 3-7) hosts Ridgefield on Friday at 7 p.m. then visits Hockinson Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
R.A. Long (11-8, 6-5) has Friday off, then hosts Washougal for second place at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
R.A. Long 55, Mark Morris 46
Mark Morris 17 6 12 11 — 55
R.A. Long 12 14 10 19 — 55
MARK MORRIS — Kobe Parlin 9, Rome Hendrickson 9, Jack Shipley 9, Ashton Harvey 8, Cole Busch 6, Deacon Dietz 5, Keoni Makaiwi, Garrett Ness, Jamison Watson.
R.A. LONG — Cavin Holden 23, Cameron Holden 19, Aaron Ofstun 6, Jadon Williamson 5, Jamond Harris 2, Jake Anderson 1, Ryan Plampin, Wayne Keegan.