The Willapa Valley Vikings earned a rousing victory while the Taholah Chitwhins saw their season end in their respective boys basketball state tournament games on Wednesday at Veteran’s Memorial Arena in Spokane.
Willapa Valley 66, Onalaska 47
It’s safe to say that after taking a drubbing at the hands of Onalaska in the district tournament, the Willapa Valley Vikings were licking their chops for another shot at the Loggers.
That chance came Wednesday in a 2B State Tournament first-round game, and the Vikings made the most of it.
Willapa Valley hit the floor running and had Onalaska playing catch-up the entire game en route to a 66-47 victory, avenging a loss to the Loggers in the 2B District IV Tournament 12 days earlier.
No. 10 Willapa Valley opened up an early 7-3 lead and never looked back, driving the basket and pounding the ball inside while giving the Vikings multiple looks on defense.
Willapa Valley (19-8 overall) took a 15-10 lead at the end of the first quarter but ramped up the pressure and intensity in the second frame. Using multiple defensive looks, the Vikings held the Loggers (20-8) to seven points in the second quarter.
When Logan Walker hit a jump shot with 1:41 to go in the first half, the Vikings amassed a 30-17 lead .
After the half, the Vikings continued to outplay the Loggers. A steal and layup by Chad Flemitis gave Willapa Valley a 37-20 lead with six minutes left in the third and Walker extended the Vikings’ lead to 18 points at 43-25 with a pair of free throws with 3:55 left in the quarter.
Carter Pearson hit three free throws at the end of the third quarter to give the Vikings a 47-31 lead heading into the fourth.
The shell-shocked Loggers never really threatened after that, as the Willapa Valley offense scored 19 points in the fourth quarter to cruise to the victory and advance to the second day of the state tournament.
“We got something in life you don’t often get: A second chance,” said Willapa Valley head coach Jay Pearson, referencing the Vikings’ 69-54 loss to Onalaska in a district-consolation game on Feb. 21. “When we lost to Onalaska, they embarrassed us and took away everything we wanted to do. We had a team meeting the next morning and decided that we wanted this game.”
The loss marked a turning point for the Vikings as Willapa Valley has now won three straight elimination games to advance to the double-elimination portion of the state tournament, playing their best basketball of the season in the process.
“We wanted to be more physical than them and attack the basket,” Pearson said of the Vikings’ strategy entering Wednesday’s contest. “Word got out that Willapa Valley couldn’t handle pressure and weren’t physical. … We went to the drawing board and had the best three days of practice prior to this game and had our best game of the season (on Wednesday). We attacked the basket as a team. We were embarrassed by how we played at districts and were looking for some redemption and we got it.”
Willapa Valley was led by Walker, who scored 21 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists.
Flemitis added 18 points and Carter Pearson added 11 points for Willapa Valley, which shot 53.5% as a team on 23-of-43 shooting.
Willapa Valley outrebounded Onalaska 34-24 and held the Loggers to 32% shooting on 16-for-50 shooting, including a paltry 5-for-26 from beyond the arc.
The Vikings face No. 1 seed Liberty (Spangle) at 5:30 p.m. tonight.
“I like how we’re playing right now. Since we got beat by Ony it was like a light switch went on,” Coach Pearson said. “Everything has stepped up a level and we played to our team potential and they’re believing.”
Willapa Valley 15 15 17 19 — 66
Onalaska 10 7 14 16 — 47
Willapa Valley — Walker (21 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals); Flemitis (18 pts., 3 stls.); C. Pearson (11 pts., 7 reb.); Beau Buchanan (8 pts., 9 reb., 3 blk.); Allen Deniston (6 pts., 6 reb., blk., stl.); Kyen Phansisam (2 pts., reb.)
Oakesdale 65, Taholah 58 (2 OT)
The Taholah Chitwhins’ season came to an end on Wednesday, losing a 65-58 heart-breaker in double overtime to No. 8 Oakesdale in the first round of the 1B State Tournament at Veteran’s Memorial Arena in Spokane.
Down 26-18 at the half, No. 9 Taholah rallied with a 12-3 third quarter to take a 30-29 lead into the fourth quarter.
Oakesdale edged the Chitwhins 15-14 in the fourth to force the game into overtime.
After each team scored six points in the first overtime period, Oakesdale took the victory with a 15-8 score in double overtime, ending the Chitwhins season.
Taholah was led by Izaiah Mowitch’s 20 points.
James Orozco scored 13 points with Tommy Underwood and Eli Waugh scoring nine points each for Taholah.
The Chitwhins hit 19-of-49 (38.8%) shots in the game, including 6-of-17 (35.3%) from 3-point range.
Five Oakesdale players scored in double figures, led by Matthew Hockett’s 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Oakesdale outrebounded Taholah 42-23 in the game.
Taholah 10 8 12 14 6 8 — 58
Oakesdale 14 12 3 15 6 15 — 65
Taholah — Mowitch (20 pts., 3 reb.); Orozco (13 pts., 3 reb., 6 stl.); Underwood (9 pts., 2 asst., 2 stl.); Waugh (9 pts., 2 reb., 2 stl.); Jauvon James-Juneau (7 pts., 7 reb.)