Brilliant shooting. A quicker pace. And, perhaps, the movitation of facing a traditional rival..
All of the above provided the formula for Aberdeen’s boys to produce a dramatic turnaround in their season series with Hoquiam.
Victor Gomez and Ben Dublanko combined for 45 points Monday night as the Bobcats stunned the Grizzlies, 82-53, in the season’s second meeting of the trans-Myrtle Street boys basketball rivalry.
Monday’s game bore scant resemblance to Hoquiam’s 70-49 victory over the Bobcats last month — or, for that matter, Aberdeen’s 61-48 loss to Chehalis in its last previous game. The Bobcats (7-10) shot under 20 percent from the field in the first half of the latter contest.
On Monday, they knocked down 11 shots from 3-point range. After hitting 56 percent from the field in the first half, the Cats made their first six attempts of the third quarter.
Not only was this their highest output of the season, their 45-point first half surpassed their final total in six games this season.
Aberdeen coach Mark Buckman attributed the offensive explosion to a quicker tempo than the Cats have played of late.
“When we push the ball, I truly believe that gets us in a rhythm for our half-court game,” Buckman said.
Alternating drives with his patented set shots from well beyond the arc, Gomez tallied 17 of his 24 points in the first half. The senior guard also had six rebounds and was cited by Buckman for his floor leadership.
Dublanko, 5-of-7 from 3-point territory, added 21 points and five assists.
Aberdeen senior post Braden Castleberry-Taylor, who missed the first Hoquiam game due to injury, was definitely a factor in the rematch with 11 points and 16 rebounds as the Cats enjoyed a 46-35 advantage off the glass. Josh Collett rounded out the AHS double-digit quartet with 14 points.
Hoquiam senior guard Jack Adams III led all scorers with 25 points. But he and post Jace Varner, who had 13 points and 10 rebounds, essentially represented the sum of the HHS attack for most of the way. The Grizzlies (12-7) shot only 26 percent from the floor.
“They shot very well, you’ve got to give them credit,” Hoquiam coach Curtis Eccles said of Aberdeen. “Tonight was their night and it wasn’t ours. We didn’t shoot well. Our shot selection needs to improve.”
The Bobcats never trailed and were deadlocked only at 2-2.
They took command with an 11-2 run to close out the first quarter — a sequence punctuated by reserve forward Jake Metke’s 3-pointer in the closing seconds to give Aberdeen a 19-9 lead at the first break.
The Bobcats never allowed the margin to reach single digits the rest of the way. Gomez scored half of Aberdeen’s points in a 26-point second quarter that lifted the Cats to a 45-24 halftime lead.
Hoquiam was never closer than 19 in the second half. When Dublanko sandwiched a Gomez three-ball with three triples of his own midway through the third quarter, school was out.
Anthony Nash had nine rebounds and Zach Spradlin five steals for Hoquiam.
Both teams will next face crucial league tests. The Bobcats host Centralia in an Evergreen 2A game on Wednesday, while Hoquiam visits Montesano for an Evergreen 1A showdown on Thursday.
Hoquiam 9 15 13 16 — 53 Aberdeen 19 26 20 17 — 82
Hoquiam (53) — Spradlin 4, Espedal 4, Nash 4, Steen 2, Adams 25, Varner 13, Rivera, Eccles, Dayton 1, Folkers, Mazariegos. FG — 16-61 (.262). FT — 19-28.
Aberdeen (82) — Roiko 5, Dublanko 21, Collett 14, Gomez 24, Castleberry-Taylor 11, Metke 6, Jandu, Bojorge 1, Coburn, Hughes, Troy. FG — 31-59 (.525). FT — 9-20.
JV — Aberdeen 49, Hoquiam 40. Jeshua Manwell and Dayln Barragan 17 points each for Aberdeen. Rayyon Dayton 10 for Hoquiam.