To stave off elimination in a basketball tournament, one had better make some shots.
Unfortunately for Hoquiam, too few shots fell in suffering a season-ending 63-45 loss to Seton Catholic in a 1A District 4 consolation game on Thursday in Montesano.
The game had ominous tones for Hoquiam from the get-go as it was slow out of the gate. The Grizzlies (17-6 overall) fell behind 13-3 approximately halfway through the first quarter as the Cougars (15-7) dictated the pace of play.
Hoquiam’s problems were compounded when star senior guard and 1A Evergreen League MVP Michael Lorton Watkins had to sit after picking up his second foul at the 3:40 mark of the first quarter.
The Grizzlies battled to cut the deficit to 17-10 on a jumper by senior Zander Jump with 1:20 on the clock.
Seton Catholic sophomore guard Brady Angelo responded with a bucket just before the buzzer sounded to end the first quarter with the Cougars up 19-10.
In the second period, Lorton Watkins re-entered the game and opened the period with a three to cut the deficit to six, but Angelo responded with a three of his own on the next possession, a theme that would repeat itself throughout the contest.
Trailing 22-15 with 5:47 left in the half, Lorton Watkins picked up his third foul and was relegated to the bench once again.
The Cougars took advantage, stretching the lead to double digits at 27-17 on a three from sophomore Rico George and later took a 31-17 lead after a missed free throw was rebounded and dished out to senior center Jack Jenniges, who splashed a three with 3:54 to go in the first half.
Hoquiam junior forward Aiden Butcher temporarily stopped the bleeding with a bucket in the paint with 2:36 left, but Angelo once again responded with a three. The Cougars closed the quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 38-19 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, Hoquiam played with a sense of urgency on defense, closing out on the Cougars perimeter shooters to hold SC to just eight points in the frame.
Hoquiam trimmed the Cougars lead to 11 points at 41-30 on a Lorton Watkins basket and-1 with 2:51 on the clock.
But once again, Seton Catholic responded when Jenniges scored on a layup a few seconds later and hit a three with 18 seconds to go in the period to put Hoquiam in a 46-31 hole entering the final period.
Trailing 50-33 with seven minutes left in the game, Hoquiam again threatened to crack the Cougars’ double-digit lead on back-to-back buckets from Butcher and Stankavich, trimming the deficit to 50-37 with 5:55 left in the game.
But despite Seton Catholic going cold from the floor over the next several minutes – thanks in large part to Hoquiam’s increased defensive pressure in the half-court – the Grizzlies failed to capitalize as the Cougars’ lead remained at 13. Angelo and sophomore Lance Lee then combined to hit four straight free throws to push the lead to 54-34.
Jenniges then provided the dagger, burying a three to give Seton Catholic a 57-37 lead with 3:20 to go.
Shortly thereafter, Hoquiam head coach Jeff Niemi pulled his starters from the game, allowing them to get a nice round of applause from the mostly partisan Grizzlies crowd.
“When (the Cougars’ lead) was 11 or 10, it was like, ‘OK, let’s get it under 10 and make this interesting,’ but we could never get it under 10,” Niemi said. “It would have been nice to see what they would have done if we got it under 10 because I thought our defense was much better in the second half and we were getting better shots. But we just couldn’t buy that bucket to get it back to single digits.”
Stankavich led the Grizzlies with 14 points, six rebounds and two assists while Butcher added nine points and a team-best eight rebounds for the Grizzlies.
Plagued with foul troubles throughout the game, Lorton Watkins finished with seven points, as did
The Grizzlies shot 30.9% from the field on 17-of-55 shooting, including 2 of 17 from the 3-point line (11.7%).
Seton Catholic was led by Angelo (21 points) and shot 40% as a team on 18-of-45 shooting.
The Cougars outrebounded Hoquiam 41-27 and converted 19 of 22 free throws (86%).
“I’d like to thank my 10 seniors for all their hard work and growth,” Niemi said. “And my assistants Ed Dawson and Zac Reynvaan for all their help. … To miss the playoffs last year with pretty much the same guys playing and come in here this year and take second (in league), host and win a playoff game, … what impressive growth and that growth mindset can take you further in life than it ever can in basketball. … If they keep doing that, they are going to have great lives.”
Hoquiam graduates Lorton Watkins, Stankavich, Owen McNeill, Jake Templer, Timmy Higgins, Jalen Hobucket, Gevin Wonderly-Leonard, Ale Atwell, JJ Monroe and Kort Gordon off this season’s 17-win team.
“They’ve been through so much,” Niemi said, referencing leading the league before school officials cancelled the remainder of their sophomore campaign to missing the playoffs last season. “To win 17 games and be right there. … I think the growth we’ve shown is really the story here. You don’t go from playing the basketball we were playing at times this year without that growth mindset and guys accepting roles.”
Seton Catholic 19 19 8 17 – 63
Hoquiam 10 9 12 14 – 45
Scoring: Seton Catholic – Angelo 21, George 16, Jenniges 14, Lee 5, Ruelas 4, Tran 3. Hoquiam – Stankavich 14, Butcher 9, Jump 7, Lorton Watkins 7, McNeill 4, Templer 2, Monroe 2.
GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL
Rainier 45, Raymond 29
Raymond missed a chance to lock up a state-regional round berth after a 45-29 loss to Rainier on Thursday at W.F. West High School in Chehalis.
Raymond (18-6) trailed 14-9 after the first quarter, but played sparkling defense to take a 16-15 lead at halftime after holding the Mountaineers (19-4) to just one point in the second quarter.
But the Seagulls left their game in the locker room as they were outscored by 29 points in the second half against a team they lost to by one point back on Dec. 22.
“Great first-half intensity on the defensive end, but somewhere in the 10 minutes of halftime our team forgot that they had to play another 16 minutes,” Raymond head coach Jason Koski said. “Because of that, we scored 12 and Rainier scored 31 in the second. … Too many turnovers and lack of concentration on the offensive end.”
Raymond was led by sophomore guard Karsyn Freeman with nine points, eight rebounds and two steals.
The Seagulls will have one final shot for a regional berth when they face Toutle Lake in a winner-to-state-loser-out game at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at W.F. West High School.
“Hopefully, the girls are looking to redeem themselves and take advantage of their opportunity on Saturday to still qualify,” Koski said.
Raymond 9 7 5 7 — 29
Rainier 14 1 13 18 — 45
Scoring: Raymond – Kongbouakhay 1, Enlow 4, Kyndal Koski 5, Kassie Koski 5, Freeman 9, Williams 4. Rainier – Swenson 9, Askey 15, Plowman 2, Blackburn 2, Beckman 6, Hanson 12.