Montesano’s date with boys basketball history will have to wait for at least another few days.
King’s Way Christian dominated the final three quarters to upend the cold-shooting Bulldogs, 68-44, in a District IV Class 1A Boys Basketball Tournament semifinal Tuesday night at Hoquiam Square Garden.
Earlier, Forks pulled away in the fourth quarter to eliminate Elma, 51-38, in a loser-out contest.
The Bulldogs (17-5) began the night one win away from clinching a regional berth — their first post-district appearance since their 1982 state team.
Instead, they must win twice in the next four days to advance.
They’ll first face Forks (15-5) in a loser-out contest scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday. Originally scheduled for Woodland, that game has been shifted to Hoquiam.
The survivor of that contest will play either Seton Catholic or Stevenson on Saturday at Kelso for the final regional slot.
Elma, meanwhile, concluded its season with a 4-18 record.
Knights 68, Bulldogs 44
For one quarter, Montesano appeared to be on the fast track to the district finals.
Exploiting their considerable height advantage and adding 3-point baskets from Sam Winter and Trevor Ridgway, the Bulldogs scored the opening seven points and led 19-10 at the first break.
After that, Monte’s shooting touch was missing in action. The Bulldogs’ first-quarter treys were their only triples of the contest. Also failing to convert on numerous second-chance opportunities, they made only 16 of 62 field-goal attempts — 8 of 44 in the last three quarters.
“We didn’t move the ball like we can,” Bulldog coach Doug Galloway said. “We settled for early shots. Their pressure got us out of rhythm.”
The small but exceedingly quick Knights, meanwhile, mixed drives and backdoor plays with kick-out passes for wide-open threes. King’s Way knocked down 11 three-balls for the contest.
Khalfani Cason, one of three brothers on the Knights, led all scorers with 22 points. Sophomore guard Brady Metz canned five 3-pointers in adding 20 points.
The reliable Ridgway topped the Bulldogs with 17 points, but he was Monte’s lone double-digit scorer.
Holding Monte scoreless for the opening 4 1/2 minutes of the second quarter, King’s Way rallied for a 28-25 halftime lead and never relinquished the advantage the rest of the way.
The margin was only five (43-38) on a pair of Ridgway foul shots only 12 seconds into the fourth quarter. But the Knights hit seven of their first eight field-goal attempts of the the final period to blow it open.
Ridgway and Winter pulled down eight rebounds apiece. Winter also dished out three assists, as did L.J. Valley.
Spartans 51, Eagles 38
Excellent defense kept Elma in the game for more than three quarters — but rarely in front. Although the Eagles stayed within a possession or two for much of the way, their last lead was 5-4 in the opening two minutes.
Elma limited Forks to 33 percent field-goal shooting.
“In our three games against Forks, we kept getting closer. But every game was the same — we could never get the lead,” Elma coach Jeff Niemi lamented.
The Eagles trailed by only one, 30-29, when Cody Vollan drove for a layin with 5:08 remaining in the third quarter. The margin was two, at 35-33, entering the fourth period.
After shooting fairly well for three quarters, the Eagles went dry in the final stanza. They hit only 2 of 13 from the field in the final period.
A pair of baskets by Cort Prose, meanwhile, ignited a 12-2 Forks run to open the fourth quarter.
As has been the case much of the season, turnovers proved a large part of Elma’s undoing. The Eagles were guilty of 24 turnovers — 15 in the first half.
Vollan scored 16 points, while freshman Cobey Moore amassed nine points and 11 rebounds for the Eagles. Carter Jacobson grabbed nine rebounds for Elma.
Better known for his prowess as a running back in football, Forks’ Cole Baysinger proved a thorn in Elma’s side on the court as well. Particularly hot in the first half, he led all scorers with 20 points.
With only one senior (Micah Swint) on the roster, the young Eagles were far more competitive late in the season.
“I really believe that this was the biggest improvement I’ve seen, as a coach or player,” said first-year head coach Niemi.
King’s Way 10 18 15 25 — 68
Montesano 19 6 11 8 — 44
King’s Way (68) —Khalfani Cason 22, Kobi Cason 10, Koenders 4, Metz 20, Kefentse Cason, Lukas, Dodge 6, Frahm 6, Mairs, Packer, Snider. FG — 25-56 (.446). FT — 7-7.
Montesano (44) — Ridgway 17, Nicklas 8, Winter 6, Valley, Dierkop 5, Farmer 4, Bates 2, Albert, Parker, Wyatt, Iverson 2, Johanssson. FG — 16-62 (.258). FT — 10-18.
Forks 17 6 12 16 — 51
Elma 12 9 12 5 — 38
Forks (51) — Johnson 8, Jacoby 4, Baysinger 20, Prose 7, Armas 12, Reaume, Archibald, Morton. FG — 21-63 (.333). FT — 6-7.
Elma (38) — Jacobson 7, Johnston, Vollan 16, Schneider 3, Moore 9, Billerback, Swint 3, Richey. FG — 16-45 (.356). FT — 2-6.