BOYS PREP BASKETBALL
Ocosta 54, South Bend 50
Cole Hatton came through in the clutch with a big bucket to give Ocosta the edge in its 54-50 win over the Indians in South Bend on Wednesday.
Hatton scored 21 points, with his biggest points of the game coming with 56 seconds left. Ocosta’s Kobe Rudolph grabbed a rebound off of a missed 3-pointer from Alex Bailey and found Hatton making a cut to the basket on what proved to be the game-winning shot.
Hatton’s bucket gave Ocosta a 52-50 lead, but the Wildcats weren’t out of the woods yet. With less than 30 seconds to go South Bend (1-6 overall) grabbed a rebound off of a missed free throw and attempted to move the ball up court in the face of a full-court press from the Wildcats.
Bailey came up with a steal before the Indians could cross half-court, forcing South Bend to foul and allowing Ocosta (5-4, 5-3 Pacific 2B ) to put the game on ice from the free-throw line.
Ocosta head coach Jason Quinby said Hatton’s performance was the key to victory.
“Cole is our main guy. He’s the guy we want to do a lot of scoring for us and he has lately,” he said. “He hit some big shots when we were down to get us back in the game. He is the guy.”
Before Hatton’s late-game heroics, South Bend’s Drew Rose seemed poised to lead his team to the win when he hit a 3-pointer with 1:57 left in the game that tied it up at 50-50.
With just under two minutes to go after an Ocosta time out, Hatton said his team had to execute on defense and avoid fouls down the stretch.
“It got tight when we got into foul trouble, but we stuck together,” he said. “We knew we should be the better team, so we just tried to push through.”
The Wildcats finished strong but it was the Indians who looked more confident early on. South Bend went on a 6-0 run to close out the first quarter and built a 17-10 lead at the conclusion of the first frame. Rose was instrumental to the team’s success early on and scored nine of his team-leading 19 points in the first eight minutes of play.
The Indians were still clinging to a 25-24 lead going into halftime as the Wildcats had closed the gap when they got more of their perimeter shots to fall. Ocosta’s Kobe Beck chipped in with two 3-pointers in the second quarter.
South Bend head coach Manuel Rangel said his team can take momentum from its strong start.
“I thought our boys really came out ready to play and that was a big confidence booster,” he said. “We had a lot of rebounds, so I think we’re starting to find what our strengths are. It’s definitely a moral victory.”
South Bend was coming of its first win of the season heading into to Wednesday’s clash, but Rangel isn’t too concerned about where his team ends up in the league standings this season. He’s just hoping to see growth from game to game.
“We’re going to do what we can, but right now we’re just trying to take it one game at a time,” he said. “If the basketball gods shine a light on us, that’s great, but we just want to try to improve.”
The Wildcats, on the other hand, are already looking at the standings. The win over South Bend keeps the Wildcats at fourth place in the 2B Pacific League standings.
Ocosta has a week-long break before their next game against Rainier at the Pe Ell Tournament on Dec. 27 at noon.
Hatton said winning close games like this can be the difference between starting the postseason on the road or in Westport.
“With a two-game winning streak going into winter break, we’re pretty confident. We just want to keep working for that home playoff game and go from there,” he said.
Willapa Valley 68, Ilwaco 53
The Willapa Valley Vikings took down another potential contender for the 2B Pacific League title on Wednesday, defeating the Ilwaco Fishermen 68-53 in Ilwaco.
Three Vikings players scored in double figures, led by guard Matt Pearson, who scored 26 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists. Logan Walker scored 14 points and Peter Hamilton added 13 points and a team-best nine rebounds for Willapa Valley (8-0 overall, Pacific 2B).
After gradually increasing its lead over the course of the first half, the Vikings found themselves behind in the third quarter after the Fishermen (5-2) outscored Willapa Valley by eight points in the period.
“In the third quarter, we stubbed our toe a little bit and they took the lead,” Willapa Valley head coach Jay Pearson said.
But Matt Pearson took over the game in the fourth quarter, going 8-for-8 from the free-throw line and scoring 16 of his 26 points in the frame.
“He just took over the game,” Coach Pearson said.
Walker hit two big 3-point shots in the fourth quarter and Allen Deniston contributed off the bench for the Vikings with six points.
With the victory, Willapa Valley is one game ahead of Northwest Christian in the league standings.
“We never won at Life Christian and we’ve never won at Ilwaco,” Coach Pearson said. “Now, we’ve done both.”
The Vikings host the Willapa Valley Christmas Tournament beginning Thursday, Dec. 27.
— Ryan Sparks, Grays Harbor News Group
Northwest Chirstian 56, Raymond 43
Raymond played strong on defense but couldn’t get enough shots to fall in a 56-43 loss to Northwest Christian on Wednesday night in Lacey.
The Seagulls (2-6, 2-5 Pacific 2B) got a solid offensive performance from Tre Seydel, who led the team with 16 points in the loss.
Seydel was the only Seagulls player to crack double figures in scoring while the Navigators (5-2) had three players reach that plateau.
Northwest Christian was led by Nick Tarabochia’s 16 points. Daniel Dominguez added 14 points for NWC.
Raymond head coach Derek Rask said there are some reasons for optimism despite the loss.
“Even though we lost this game, I thought it was our best game, effort wise,” he said. “We struggled to score the ball, but our defensive effort set the tone for us and kept us in the game.”
The Seagulls will look to snap their three-game losing streak when they hit the road to face Napavine at 7 p.m. on Dec. 29.