MONTESANO — Montesano may have scored first and last, but it was Aberdeen who was able to put together offensive runs to claim victory, 56-43, in a non-league game at Bo Griffith Gym on Wednesday.
After the Bulldogs (4-4) jumped out to a 7-2 lead four minutes into the contest, Aberdeen’s Victor Gomez sparked a 9-0 run, scoring all nine points. The senior capped the run with a 3-pointer.
Montesano battled back and to tie the game at 22-22 at halftime before a trey from Sam Winter put the Bulldogs up 25-22 moments in the third quarter. However, the Bobcats scored the next 13 points, fueled by three layins from Braden Castleberry-Taylor and capped with a shot from downtown by Ben Dublanko. Aberdeen never looked back.
“In the first half, Montesano did an excellent job of changing up their defenses and confusing what we wanted to do defensively,” Aberdeen coach Mark Buckman said. “We came in at half and we talked about we wanted to attack the bucket more and get out and play at our tempo, try and score in transition. If we can’t come back, run our offense patiently.”
Aberdeen (3-4) pushed the ball upcourt and heated up offensively, hitting 8-of-12 shots in the third quarter. The Bobcats kept the lead at eight points or more the rest of the way as Montesano struggled to get defensive stops.
“Defensively, I thought that was our worst game of the year and I think we need to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to stop someone,” Montesano coach Doug Galloway said. “We didn’t rotate very well. We didn’t defend the ball very well. We didn’t close out very well. Everything we tried to do we were a step slow and we have to get better. That is on me. I have to figure out how to teach that better.”
Montesano switched to a 2-3 zone defense to start the fourth quarter and was able to go on an 8-2 run, fueled by six points by Trevor Ridgway. The junior had eight of his 16 points in the final quarter. But once again, Aberdeen found just enough offense to keep the game out of reach. This time, it was 3-pointers from Brayden Roiko and Ben Dublanko less than a minute apart.
Dublanko scored 11 points, all of which came in the second half, and four assists on the night. Castleberry-Taylor added eight points and six rebounds, but Gomez led the Cats with 20 points, five steals and four assists.
“Victor has proven to us this season that he is a smart player and that he is sacrificing for his team right now,” Buckman said. “He is just doing all the things that we need him to do right now to be successful.”
Galloway cited Ridgway and freshman Tanner Nicklas, who finished with eight points.
Montesano travels to Ilwaco today, while Aberdeen hosts Peninsula on Dec. 29.
Aberdeen 11 11 21 13 — 56 Montesano 7 15 7 14 — 43
Aberdeen (56) — Roiko 5, Dublanko 11, Collett 9, Gomez 20, Castleberry-Taylor 8, Coburn, Bojorge, Solan 1, Hughes, Troy 2, Jandu, Metke. FG — 21-49. FT — 7-9.
Montesano (43) — Ridgway 16, Winter 5, Chapman, Bates 4, Dierkop 4, Nicholson, Peterson, Burbidge, Quinn, Valley 2, Farmer 4, Nicklas 8.