MONTESANO — The Taholah Chitwhins fell behind early an never recovered against a hot-shooting Naselle team in the Chitwhins’ 82-49 loss in the 1B District IV Boys Basketball Tournament championship game on Thursday in Montesano.
Taholah (14-7) fell behind 10-0 to start the game as Naselle’s full-court press and ball-pressure defense created a frantic pace, causing Chitwhin fouls and turnovers that led to points for the eighth-ranked Comets (17-5).
Compounding Taholah’s problems was red-hot shooting in the first half by Naselle, specifically seniors Antonio Nolan and Jacob Eaton.
Nolan, a 5-foot-7 shooting guard, and Eaton, a 6-foot-3 center, lit up the scoreboard on Thursday, scoring 18 and 14 points in the first half, respectively.
Taholah co-captain James Orozco cut Naselle’s double-digit lead to nine after hitting a 3-pointer followed by a steal-layup in back-to-back possessions with 3:57 remaining in the first.
But that was as close as the Chitwhins would get as the Comets responded with an 8-0 run and extended its advantage to 44-17 after a 15-3 run midway through the second quarter.
Taholah trailed 50-24 after a miserable first-half for the Chitwhins.
Facing a huge uphill climb, the Chitwhins, led by Orozco’s 19 points, attacked the basket in an attempt to get to the foul line.
But the lead proved too much to overcome as Naselle took the district title, 82-49.
Nolan led all scorers with 22 points, hitting five 3-pointers and going 6-of-13 from the field.
Naselle hit 12 threes as a team in the contest.
Eaton scored 18 points, eight of those coming on 4-for-5 shooting in the opening frame.
Orozco scored his 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting and 4-of-6 from the free-throw line. Izaiah Mowitch scored 11 points as the only other Taholah player in double figures.
After its second-place finish in the district tournament, the Chitwhins qualified for the 1B Regional Playoffs, which are scheduled to begin on Feb. 22-23 at the Spokane Arena.
1A District IV Consolation
Hoquiam 67, Stevenson 58
Hoquiam found ways to get past Stevenson’s press defense in the Grizzlies’ 67-58 victory on Thursday in the consolation round of the 1A District IV Tournament.
Hoquiam (11-11) got some big points off the bench from Zach Elsos, who scored 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting in only his fourth varsity game this season.
Hoquiam head coach Curtis Eccles said he was pleased to see his team stay calm in the face of an aggressive press defense from Stevenson (9-14).
“We had a good high-low game and I felt like our guys did a good job of just being patient when we had too in our transition game,” he said. “It was really impressive against Stevenson’s press defense.”
In addition to Elsos’ big game off the bench, Hoquiam big man Rayyon Dayton came through with another fine performance that included 19 points and 11 rebounds. Dayton’s 19-point game also featured three dunks on cuts to the basket that energized the bench.
Hoquiam will now prepare to take on cross-town rival Montesano at 6 p.m. on Friday at WF West High School. The winner will play Seton Catholic at 6 p.m. on Friday in the tournament’s third-place game, with a trip to the 1A Regional Playoffs on the line.
The two teams split their two league meetings during the regular season and Eccles thinks his team can take the rubber match in the upcoming elimination game.
“We appeared to be a little nervous when we went to Monte, so we just need to be patient like we did tonight,” Eccles said. “We need to be aware of what we do and be able to defend them on the perimeter because they’re a good shooting team.”
— Hasani Grayson, Grays Harbor News Group
GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL
1A District IV Semifinals
King’s Way Christian 61, Montesano 57
The Montesano girls basketball team will have to win in the consolation round to earn a trip to regionals after the Bulldogs fell 61-57 against King’s Way Christian in a 1A District IV semifinal matchup on Thursday in Vancouver.
Monte (13-9) held a four-point lead at the end of the first quarter thanks in large part ot center Zoe Hutchings, who 10 of her game-high 27 points in the first five minutes of the game.
But Hutchings quickly picked up her second foul and had to sit on the bench for the remainder of the first half, allowing KWC (16-6), led by MacKenzie Ellerston’s 18 first-half points, to overtake Monte and hold a 30-27 lead at the half.
Tied at 55-55 with approximately 1:30 left in the game, KWC’s Hannah Moats buried a corner 3-pointer to give the Knights the lead for good.
Monte was forced to foul down the stretch in an attempt to prolong the game, but it was all for not as the Bulldogs were sent to the consolation bracket with the loss.
Hutchings was the only Monte player in double figures with 27 points on an efficient 13-of-16 shooting (81 percent).
Monte’s Katie Granstrom filled up the stat sheet with eight points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
Paige Lisherness and Lexi Lovell scored six points apiece for the Bulldogs.
Monte shot 26-for-49 from the field and had 17 assists as a team.
Ball security was a problem for Monte, however, as the Bulldogs committed 21 turnovers, many of which were turned into KWC points.
Despite the loss, Monte head coach Julie Graves was proud of the way her team competed and shared the basketball.
“Tonight was a great high school basketball game. It was a battle from start to finish,” she said. “We displayed good ball movement as a team.”
The loss sends Monte to the tournament’s consolation bracket, where they will need to win out to earn a trip to the 1A Regional Playoffs. Monte will face the winner of Friday’s Tenino-Castle Rock game on Saturday at Kelso High School in a consolation semifinal. Tip-off scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
1B District IV Championship
Taholah 64, Naselle 38
(No further information provided at the time of this writing)