Monte boys dominate Forks stay alive at district

Montesano boys to play for a regional berth after rout of Forks

By dominating a league rival, Montesano’s boys will continue their pursuit of a regional basketball game berth.

Three players scored in double figures as the Bulldogs eliminated Forks with an easy 64-37 win in the District IV Class 1A Boys Basketball Tournament on Thursday at Hoquiam Square Garden.

Montesano (18-5) will now have to prepare for Seton Catholic in a winner-to-regionals, loser-out game scheduled for 6:30 p.m. today at Kelso. The Bulldogs will be seeking their first post-district berth since their 1982 state appearance.

Tanner Nicklas scored 16 points, with Trevor Ridgway adding 11 and Sam Winter 10 for the Bulldogs against Forks.

The Bulldogs eventually picked up their offensive play but their defense kept them in the game for the first few minutes of the first quarter.

Monte’s size advantage was apparent on defense from the opening tip but it took a while for the interior offense to get rolling.

When the Bulldogs were able to get some points in the paint, it was with the transition game. Winter had four steals in the game and helped wake up an offense that had been sluggish out of the gate by getting long-range passes to the open man running down the court.

Monte head coach Doug Galloway liked the defensive effort but said it took his scorers a little while to shake off the loss they suffered to King’s Way Christian on Tuesday.

“We kind of had a hangover from two nights ago so it took us a while to get things going. We got our confidence and we started playing a little better,” he said.

By halftime, there was no evidence of Monte’s slow start on the scoreboard as the Bulldogs had opened up a 32-13 lead.

The Spartans tried to make a game of it in the third by having some of their quick guards drive the lane but the size and length of players like Nicklas and Seth Dierkop were problematic for players like Forks standout Seth Johnson, who had limited success scoring in the paint.

Galloway said taking advantage of their size advantage was a big part of the game plan.

“We wanted to make sure that they didn’t get an easy look at the bucket. A lot of times if you are a little bigger, it makes things difficult,” he said. “We were trying to clog that middle and then close out on shooters without giving up a drive.”

Once the Bulldogs had established the paint as a no-fly zone for anyone trying to finish at the rim, the Spartans tried their luck from beyond the arc. Forks, however, hit only 6 of 31 from long range.

Against Seton Catholic, Monte will attempt to avenge a 74-71 loss in a January non-leaguer.

The Bulldogs did well controlling the paint Thursday but will have to be on the lookout for the talented point guard Isaiah Parker who leads the Seton Catholic with 17.7 points a game.

“At this point in the year we’re happy to be playing,” Galloway concluded.

Forks 7 6 13 11 — 37

Monte 10 22 18 14 – 64

Forks (37) — Johnson 3, Reaume, Jacoby, C. Baysinger 4, T. Baysinger, Prose 13, Armas 8, Baar, Archibald 10, Morton 2, Hernandez-Flores. FG — 11-48 (.229). FT — 9-12.

Montesano (64) — Johansson, Bates 8, Ridgway 11, Nicklas 16, Winter 10, Albert 4, Parker, Wyatt, Valley 5, Frazer 1, Dierkop 9, Iverson . FG — 27-58 (.466). FT — 4-8.

Tanner Nicklas hits a transition a layup against Forks in a district tournament game against Forks. Nicklas led the team with 16 points.

Tanner Nicklas hits a transition a layup against Forks in a district tournament game against Forks. Nicklas led the team with 16 points.