ABERDEEN — Grays Harbor College went into the halftime break feeling confident, but cold shooting in the second half hamstrung the Chokers in a 77-61 home loss to Green River.
Grays Harbor (8-12, 0-6 NWAC West) took a 39-35 lead into halftime on the strength of 50 percent shooting from the field and 15-of-21 from the free-throw line.
Grays Harbor’s Dallin Spencer said communication was the key to a hot start.
“We were just talking and we had energy on the bench and on the floor. We came ready to play and executed the game plan in the first half,” he said.
Green River had a particularly tough time slowing down Jordan Gardner, who had 13 points after 20 minutes of play.
However, Gardner didn’t score another point after that as Green River clogged the lane and made it difficult to finish at the rim.
Foul trouble also plagued the Chokers in the second half as Carl Fischer picked up his fourth foul with 15 minutes remaining in the second half.
Fischer led Grays Harbor with 15 points, but the big man only played 11 minutes in the second half as head coach Matt Vargas juggled the lineup.
“You have to sit and you have to play freshmen and sometimes the freshmen you put in at that slot can get overwhelmed,” he said. “We try to hide it a little bit with our press, but it’s a team game and we have to overcome that.”
The Chokers offense went into a lull around the 15 minute mark of the second half which allowed Green River to go on a 10-1 run to push the lead 51-42.
Grays Harbor’s interior defense began to falter as Green River’s post players got to the rim using backdoor cuts.
Kevin Baker scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half and Cam Cowley ended up adding 11 points to the Gator’s second-half point total.
The Gators all but abandoned the 3-point shot and went 1-for-3 from beyond the arc.
The Chokers tried to keep the game close with the help of 3-pointers, but went 0-for-12 from range in the second half.
Vargas said the combination of youth and some unfavorable foul calls was too much for his team of freshmen to overcome.
“It’s frustrating. We go to the rack and we don’t get the calls. They come down, they attack us and there’s a slight slap on the wrists and it’s a foul,” he said. “We’re fighting a perception and we’re fighting a whole lot of things on top of being young.”
The Chokers will continue to look for their first conference win of the season when they head to Olympia to take on South Puget Sound at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
South Puget Sound won the NWAC West last season and went on a run to the Elite Eight in the conference tournament.
Vargas said he has respect for South Puget Sound head coach Aaron Ladon, but isn’t a big fan of his program.
“I don’t like them. To me, that’s our rival. When you have a team that has won as much as they have and done some things that they’ve done, if beating them isn’t your gaol then what are you doing?,” he asked, rhetorically. “I say I don’t like them because that’s the bench mark. It’s my first year here going at Ladon as a head coach, so let’s go.”
WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Grays Harbor wins via forfeit
Due to a misunderstanding in the tip-off time, Green River failed to arrive for their contest against Grays Harbor scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday.
The game will not be rescheduled at this time and the Chokers (10-8, 4-2 NWAC West) were awarded a 1-0 win, according to Grays Harbor athletic director, Tom Sutera.
“All our websites had the right time, but one of the (Green River) coaches still had the old time,” Sutera said. “It’ll count as a forfeit, but we’ll reach out and talk to them on Monday.”
Grays Harbor will be on the road to take on South Puget Sound at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
BOYS PREP BASKETBALL
Chief Leschi 75, Ocosta 72 (OT)
The Ocosta Wildcats made an incredible comeback to tie the game, but it was all for not as Ocosta lost 75-72 in overtime against the Chief Leschi Warriors on Saturday at Chief Leschi High School.
Ocosta (7-11, 7-9 Pacific 2B) led by as many as 13 points in the first half before the Warriors (9-9, 7-9) stormed back to take a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Ocosta, which was down eight points with 1:20 left in the game, cut the lead to five points when Evan Waara made a layup and was fouled with 17 seconds to go. Waara converted the free-throw attempt to cut the lead to five.
On Waara’s free throw, Ocosta’s Alex Bailey was fouled and subsequently hit two free throws to tie the game.
Both the Wildcats and Warriors had chances at last-second shots to win the game, but neither team converted to send the game into overtime.
In the extra period, Warriors center Christian Durr-Schaffer, who had been relatively silent on the offense with three points in the game, scored seven points to lead Chief Leschi to the three-point victory.
“(That) was the difference, along with a few questionable calls and no-calls by the officials, which seemed to go against us,” Ocosta head coach Jason Quinby said of Durr-Shaffer’s play in extra time. “(Those calls) either made the crowd furious or full of hope depending on which end of the bleachers you were sitting on.”
Ocosta was led by Cole Hatton, who scored 22 points on the evening.
Wildcats players Kobe Beck and Bailey each scored 17 points for the Wildcats.
Ocosta hosts South Bend at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
— Ryan Sparks, Grays Harbor News Group
Ilwaco 57, Raymond 49
Raymond’s offense faltered in the second half of a 57-49 home loss to Ilwaco on Saturday.
The Seagulls (5-13, 5-11 Pacific 2B) went into halftime down 36-32, but couldn’t find ways to keep up its scoring output in the second half.
“We struggled to score the ball in the second half, and that was the difference in the game,” Raymond head coach Derek Rask said. “We missed too many free throws, and gave up too many offensive rebounds. Rebounding is a continued struggle for us.”
Ilwaco (13-5, 12-4) also got a big game out of John Glen, who scored a game-high 20 points.
Raymond is now one game back of North Beach for the final district tournament seed. The Seagulls will try to climb back into the playoff picture when they take on Northwest Christian at home on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL
Ocosta 50, Chief Leschi 40
The Ocosta Wildcats remain in the hunt for a 2B Pacific League title with a 50-40 victory over Chief Leschi on Saturday at Chief Leschi High School.
The Wildcats (15-3, 15-1 Pacific 2B) trailed after one quarter and led 20-19 at the half, but outscored the Warriors (8-10, 5-10) in the second half, including a seven-point advantage in fourth-quarter scoring.
Ocosta center Kristi Raffelson led all scorers with 19 points, 12 of those coming in the first half. The senior center shot 7-for-10 from the field and had a team-high 19 rebounds.
In addition to Raffelson, Ocosta’s Kjirstin Hopfer and Kaylee Barnum scored in double digits on the evening.
Hopfer scored 14 points, grabbed eight rebounds and hit 5-of-6 free throws. The 5-foot-5 point guard was also the only Wildcat with a block in the game.
Barnum scored 11 points, dished out four rebounds, grabbed four boards and had three steals for the Wildcats.
Mulina Pluff led Chief Leschi with eight points.
Ocosta stayed in the league-title race with the victory. The Wildcats are one game back of Ilwaco, which defeated Raymond on Friday, for the top spot in the 2B Pacific League.
The Wildcats hit the road to take on South Bend at 7 p.m. on Monday. An Ocosta win would likely give the Wildcats a shot at a co-league championship with a win over Ilwaco in the regular-season finale on Wednesday in Westport.
— Ryan Sparks, Grays Habor News Group