Tuesday Boys Prep Basketball Roundup: Bojorge, Dublanko lead Aberdeen over Tumwater

Also: Willapa Valley upset by Chief Leschi; Raymond down Pe Ell

ABERDEEN — Aberdeen’s backcourt duo of Ben Dublanko and Javier Bojorge combined for 41 of their team’s 62 points to lead the Bobcats to a 62-51 victory over the Tumwater Thunderbirds on Tuesday.

Bojorge scored a game-high 21 points, 14 of those coming in a red-hot fourth quarter where the senior hit two key 3-pointers and went a perfect 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.

Not to be outdone, Dublanko scored 20 points that included an improbable over-the-shoulder flip for a bucket and a baseline jumper from slightly behind the backboard — both in a fourth quarter that saw the Bobcats outscore Tumwater, 22-14, to secure the victory.

“They’re gamers,” Aberdeen head coach Mark Buckman said of his two starting guards. “When they come into the game, they know what’s on the line. It’s one of those things where we want the rest of our group to want it as badly as those two guys. And everyone is starting to really gain that competitive spirit, but Bojorge and Dublanko) are certainly the lifeblood of that. They preach that and are very vocal with our team and that’s why they are the captains of this group.”

With all the success Aberdeen (10-3 overall, 2-2 Evergreen 2A) had late in the game, the Bobcats had anything but that in the early going. Tumwater (5-9, 3-1) took the crowd out of the game early by taking a 17-9 lead on Ethan Dillon’s running bank shot with less than a minute left in the first quarter.

But Aberdeen showed some signs of life when Bojorge hit one of two free throws followed by a Dublanko 3-point buzzer-beater to close the gap to 17-12 entering the second frame.

Aberdeen guard Javier Bojorge shoots during the first half against Tumwater on Tuesday. Bojorge finished with a game-best 21 points. (Ryan Sparks | Grays Harbor News Group)

Aberdeen guard Javier Bojorge shoots during the first half against Tumwater on Tuesday. Bojorge finished with a game-best 21 points. (Ryan Sparks | Grays Harbor News Group)

The Bobcats took no time tracking down the Thunderbirds in the second quarter, tying the game at 19 all when Derrell Shale scored on the break off an assist from Ethan Morrill. A little over a minute later, the Bobcats had their first lead when Bojorge scored on a driving layup, putting Aberdeen out in front 21-19. They would extend the lead to as much as seven before taking a 29-24 lead into the half.

But Tumwater responded with a third-quarter run to take the lead at 37-36 on Damon Gaither’s offensive rebound and putback with 1:38 to go in the period, capping a 9-0 run.

With less than a minute to go in the third, Dublanko gave Aberdeen the lead with a crossover, step-through dribble-drive layup followed by a jump shot with two second left. The Bobcats held a 40-37 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

Not content with keeping the game close to the end, the Bobcats hit big shot after big shot over the first five minutes of the quarter, including a Bojorge double-pump fake jumper that had two Thunderbirds defenders sailing harmlessly away and Dublanko’s aforementioned baseline shot where he was slightly angled behind the backboard.

With Aberdeen leading 46-41, the partisan home crowd roared when Bojorge hit a three from the top of the key to give the Bobcats a 49-41 lead.

Then everything fell silent.

During the play, Dublanko injured his right knee and fell to the floor, writhing in pain. The court was cleared as the crowd waited with baited breath to see if Aberdeen’s leading scorer and team co-captain would be able to walk on his own accord.

Aberdeen guard Ben Dublanko writhes in pain after suffering a knee injury during the fourth quarter of the Bobcats’ victory over Tumwater on Tuesday. Dublanko exited the game but returned after one possession. (Ryan Sparks | Grays Harbor News Group)

Aberdeen guard Ben Dublanko writhes in pain after suffering a knee injury during the fourth quarter of the Bobcats’ victory over Tumwater on Tuesday. Dublanko exited the game but returned after one possession. (Ryan Sparks | Grays Harbor News Group)

After a few minutes, Dublanko rose to his feet and limped off the court and over to the bench.

Then, in his best Willis Reed impression, Dublanko walked over to the scorer’s table and re-entered the game after just one possession.

“My first thought was I did something serious to my knee,” Dublanko said of the injury. “I just didn’t want to let my team down. I was so proud of how these guys battled, the thought in my brain that I was letting my team down was just killing me.”

Like the former New York Knickerbockers great, Dublanko powered through the pain, scoring on an over-the-shoulder, driving circus shot to give the Bobcats a 54-43 lead with 1:36 to play.

“I told myself, ‘It’s not serious. If you can get up, you can go.’ So that was the thought process in my mind. Adrenalin is a beautiful thing. It’s the best painkiller you can have. I’m blessed to God it was nothing more serious and I was able to come and help my team get the win.”

From there, Bojorge did the rest, scoring Aberdeen’s final six points to secure the critical 2A Evergreen League victory.

“In the beginning of the game, they killed us a little bit inside,” Bojorge said of Aberdeen’s ominous start to the game. “But that’s when coach said, ‘Close in on defense. Stop every guy that tries to drive. Take a charge and play smart defense and run our sets on offense and we’ll be alright.’”

“Our defense feeds into our offense,” Dublanko said. “They sped us up and came in with a great game plan and we weren’t ready for it. … Coach started talking to us about valuing possessions more, attacking the rim and just being who we are.”

While Bojorge praised Dublanko for his grit and toughness, he said the win can not be credited to him and Dublanko alone.

“We know this is a family effort and a full team effort,” he said. “We can’t run sets without the other three guys. … We have full confidence in every single one of our guys, whether they be on the bench or on the floor at the beginning of the game.”

The win was a cruical one for Aberdeen as the Bobcats are now 2-2 in league with six league games left on the schedule. They are tied for third place with WF West and sit one game behind Tumwater for second-place in the 2A Evergreen.

“We are firm believers that we can do something special,” Dublanko said about the outlook following Tuesday’s win. “We haven’t played our best basketball and we know that’s ahead of us.”

“Knowing they were coming into our house, we could take one away from them and get back into the mix in the standings,” Buckman said. “The players definitely heard our message, knowing this game could put us at 1-3 and it would be an uphill battle to reach the playoffs. It was a huge win.”

Tumwater 17 7 13 14 — 51

Aberdeen 12 17 11 22 — 62

Top Players: Aberdeen — Bojorge (21 pts., 4 stl.), Dublanko (20 pts., 6 reb., 5 asst.), Gio Pisani (9 pts., 3 asst.); Tumwater — Gaither (10 pts.).

Chief Leschi 60, Willapa Valley 58

Chief Leschi’s Kahea Baker hit a game-winning 3-pointer to hand Willapa Valley a 60-58 loss on Tuesday at Chief Leschi High School.

Willapa Valley (13-2, 11-2 Pacific 2B) jumped out to an 11-0 lead thanks in large part to Logan Walker, who was hot from the start against the Warriors’ 2-3 zone defense.

But Chief Leschi (7-7, 6-7) switched to a man-to-man defense, which is where the game turned according to Vikings head coach Jay Pearson.

“It got pretty physical and there were a few stoppages by the refs,” he said. “But the bottom line is we turned the ball over too much and missed too many lay-ins. … We haven’t put a complete game together where everyone is firing on all cylinders.”

Walker led the way for the Vikings with 26 points and eight rebounds.

Willapa Valley leading scorer Matt Pearson scored just eight points in what his coaching father commented, “It just wasn’t his night.”

The loss creates a logjam at the top of the 2B Pacific League standings. The Vikings and Life Christian Academy are tied atop the league with 11-2 records. Northwest Christian is close behind at 10-3.

Willapa Valley hosts South Bend at 7 p.m. at home on Friday.

Willapa Valley 18 13 17 10 — 58

Chief Leschi 17 18 12 13 — 60

Top Players: WV — Walker (26 pts., 8 reb.), Pearson (8 pts.); Delshae Gower (14 pts.), Baker (12 pts.).

Raymond 62, Pe Ell 44

A second-half run propelled the Raymond to its third road win of the season with a 62-44 win over Pe Ell on Tuesday at Pe Ell High School.

Raymond’s Tre Seydel scored 16 points and Devine Souvannavanh tallied 12 points as the Seagulls extended a nine-point halftime lead to 17 points by the start of the fourth quarter.

“This season, we’ve had our struggles on the road. We approached this game the right way, and we put together a solid road win,” Raymond head coach Derek Rask said. “We talked about making a run immediately in the third, and our guys did a nice job of responding to the challenge. We had great guard play from Seydel, Souvannavanh, and (McCartney) Maden in the third. I thought that was the difference in the game.”

Pe Ell (0-15, 0-13) was led by Jeremiah Yost, who scored 13 points for the Trojans.

Raymond (5-10, 5-8) hosts North Beach at 7 p.m. on Monday.

Pe Ell travels to Ilwaco to take on the Fishermen at 7 p.m. Friday.

Raymond 19 11 20 12 — 62

Pe Ell 10 11 12 11 — 44

Top Players: Raymond — Seydel (16 pts.), Souvannavanh (12 pts.), Maden (10 pts., 4 stl.), Brian Sida (8 reb.); Pe Ell — Yost (13 pts.), Carson Cox (10 pts.).

— Hasani Grayson, Grays Harbor News Group

North River 68, Lake Quinault 49

North River overwhelmed Lake Quinault with a high-pressure defense in its 68-49 home win on Tuesday.

The Mustangs (2-2 overall) had four players in double figures and were led by a 20-point perfomance from Adam Schreck.

Kelvin Nieves also chipped in with 16 points on a night where North River used the press to generate close-range looks in transition.

North River head coach Sean Pierson said Lake Quinault (0-7, 0-4 Coastal 1B) has potential but couldn’t handle the full-court press in the first half.

“Lake Quinault is a young team they’re going to be good in another year or two, so we tried to be aggressive and get turnovers,” he said. “Lake Quinault settled down in the second half though, but we forced a lot of turnovers in the first half.”

Both Lake Quinault and North River will be back in action on Friday. The Mustangs will take on Wishkah Valley at 5:45 p.m in North River. The Elks will take on the Acorns in Oakville in a game that is scheduled to tip off a 7 p.m.

North River 22 18 17 11 — 68

Lake Quinault 11 10 16 12 — 49

Top Players: North River — Adam Schreck (20 pts.), Kelvin Nieves (16 pts.); Lake Quinault— Jesus Mendoza (14 pts.), Thunder Mowitch (19 pts., 13 rebs.)

— Hasani Grayson, Grays Harbor News Group