MONTESANO — With a world-class bounce-back from 72 hours earlier, Hoquiam’s boys took a familiar place at the top of the final Evergreen 1A League basketball standings.
Jack Adams III scored 15 of his 21 points in the first half as the Grizzlies captured the undisputed league championship by blowing out Montesano, 75-48, on Thursday night at Bo Griffith Memorial Gym.
The victory in their regular-season finalé enabled the Grizzlies (7-1, 13-7) to earn their third league title in the past four years (they shared the title with Aberdeen in a combined 2A/1A circuit last year). They will host the Trico League’s fourth-seeded entry in a district opener Thursday.
Montesano, which could have nabbed a share of its first boys basketball league championship since 1977, dropped to third place at 5-3 and 12-8. The Bulldogs will hit the road for their first-round district test against the Trico runner-up on Thursday.
Due to weather-related scheduling backups in the Trico League, the district bracket may not be finalized until early next week.
Thursday’s margin was identical to the Grizzlies’ 81-44 conquest of the Bulldogs last month at Hoquiam Square Garden. But Hoquiam’s showing in an 83-52 non-league loss to Aberdeen on Monday created an additional layer of speculation about the showdown with the Bulldogs.
Hoquiam senior post Jace Varner acknowledged that Monday’s thumping represented a wake-up call.
“We deserved everything we got (Monday),” Varner said. “We learned to be more combative, as Coach Dawson (assistant coach Ed Dawson) told us.”
Against Montesano, the Grizzlies attacked the basket and the offensive glass relentlessly. Their final .424 shooting percentage was far from a season best. But with a massive 52-29 rebounding advantage, sensational marksmanship wasn’t necessary.
“That comes with having more energy,” HHS head coach Curtis Eccles observed. “I really felt with the energy and intensity they brought tonight, there were able to attack the basket and finish.”
The Grizzlies spread the wealth nicely, with four players scoring in double figures. Junior forward Victor James added 15 points, Varner 13 points and 10 rebounds and senior wing Anthony Nash 11 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots.
Eight Grizzlies shared in the first-half scoring and probably at least that many provided assists as Hoquiam raced to a 42-14 halftime bulge.
The Bulldogs shot an air ball on their opening possession. That proved to be a harbinger of things to come, as they connected on only 18 percent of their field-goal attempts in the first half.
“We were tentative,” Monte coach Doug Galloway said. “Everything about our offense in the first half…I don’t know what it was. It was a team I hadn’t seen before.”
At that, the Bulldogs mustered a couple of early leads, the last at 4-3 on a Trevor Ridgway basket. But they added only an L.J. Valley 3-pointer in the next 8 1/2 minutes as Hoquiam went on a 19-3 run to blow the game open.
Two Adams foul shots and James’ basket at the buzzer gave the Grizzlies a 14-7 advantage after one period. Varner added a pair of buckets and Nash and James added one apiece to make it 22-7 at the 4:40 mark of the second quarter.
Hoquiam was on the verge of implementing the 40-point running-clock mercy rule with a 58-22 lead late in the third quarter. The Bulldogs precluded that possibility by reeling off 14 successive points, but never came closer than 22.
Ridgway scored 14 points and Valley 10 to pace the Bulldogs.
Adams grabbed seven rebounds, while HHS starting guard Zach Spradlin and reserve Ryan Espedal were each credited with three assists.
Montesano’s Nick Chapman, Austin Peterson, Lyle Burbidge and Noah Quinn were honored in pre-game Senior Night ceremonies.
Hoquiam 14 28 16 17 — 75
Montesano 7 7 19 15 — 48
Hoquiam (75) — Spradlin 1, Nash 11, Adams 21, James 15, Varner 13, Espedal 3, Eccles 6, Dayton 1, Folkers 4, Steen, Mazariegos, Brown. FG — 25-59 (.424). FT — 20-31.
Montesano (48) — Peterson 4, Ridgway 14, Burbidge, Chapman 5, Quinn 6, Valley 10, Farmer, Dierkop 1, Nicklas 4, Albert 1, Bates, Winter 3. FG — 17-64 (.266). FT — 9-19.
JV — Hoquiam 57, Montesano 38. Jackson Folkers 13 points for Hoquiam.