GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL
1A District IV
Montesano 55, La Center 37
Zoe Hutchings’ monster game led the Montesano Bulldogs to a 55-37 victory over La Center in an opening-round 1A District IV playoff game on Tuesday in Montesano.
Monte (13-8 overall), which last played on Feb. 1 showed no signs of rust early on as they blitzed La Center (10-11) in the first quarter, jumping out to a 16-4 lead after the first eight minutes of play.
The Bulldogs took a 25-16 lead into halftime but saw the Wildcats cut the lead to 32-31 with under two minutes to go in the third quarter as turnovers and cold shooting hampered Monte.
But La Center was also afflicted with the cold-shooting bug as both teams went approximately five minutes without a bucket.
Monte broke the scoring drought when Zoee Lisherness hit the front end of a 1-and-1 to give the Bulldogs a 33-31 lead with 6:22 left in the fourth quarter.
Bulldogs guard Lexi Lovell then buried a 3-pointer to give Monte a 36-31 lead with 4:51 left in the game.
Led by Lisherness and Hutchings, Monte expanded its lead down the stretch to earn the 55-37 victory.
“In the fourth quarter, Zoee Lisherness and Zoe Hutchings really stepped up,” Montesano head coach Julie Graves said. “The combination of Hutchings attacking and finding Lisherness for an open shot really gave us that little bit of cushion at the end.”
Graves added the game was won on the defensive end for the Bulldogs, who held La Center’s top three long-range shooters — Taylor Stephens, Mia Edwards and Lauren Fox — to a combined 25 points on the evening.
“They live by the three and die by the three,” Graves said of a La Center team that averages 11 made 3-pointers per game. “The biggest thing for us was our defense. … We held them to five threes as a team. … We did a really good job of getting out and not giving them too many open looks from the 3-point line.”
With the victory, the Bulldogs advance to the district semifinals where they’ll face King’s Way Christian at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at King’s Way Christian High School.
Graves said her team will try to get some work in ahead of Thursday’s big game.
“Our schedule was really interrupted this week with the weather and school cancellations,” she said. “We will try to get a light practice in tomorrow (Wednesday) before playing King’s Way on Thursday.”
1B District IV
Taholah 56, Columbia Adventist 52
BOYS PREP BASKETBALL
1A District IV
La Center 80, Montesano 69
Montesano couldn’t hold a slim halftime lead as the Bulldogs fell to La Center 80-69 in the 1A District IV Semifinals on Tuesday at King’s Way Christian High School.
Monte (13-9) held a 42-39 lead after a solid first half, but saw the advantage evaporate as the top-seeded Wildcats (17-2) rallied to take a 10-point lead in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs trimmed the lead to six with approximately three minutes left to go in the fourth quarter, but the Wildcats’ offense was too much to overcome as Monte was sent to the consolation bracket with the loss.
“La Center hit some big shots late in the shot clock,” Montesano head coach Doug Galloway said. “(La Center) got a couple of good bounces their way and got some of those 50/50 balls late that turned into points for them.”
Four Montesano Bulldogs scored in double figures, led by Sam Winter, who dropped 20 points in the game.
La Center was led by Matt Bryant, who tied with Winter with a game-high 20 points.
Though the loss knocked Monte out of the pursuit of a district title, the Bulldogs’ season isn’t over as they’ll face the Hoquiam-Stevenson winner in a consolation-bracket game on Thursday. The winner of that game will play for a spot in the state title a day later.
“Now, it’s one game at a time and we have to focus,” Galloway said.
Montesano 17 25 12 15 — 69
La Center 21 18 17 14 — 80
Top Players: Montesano — Winter (20 pts.), Tanner Nicklas (12 pts.), Shaydon Farmer (11 pts.), Trace Ridgway (11 pts.); La Center — Bryant (20 pts.), Hunter Ecklund (19 pts.), Colby Shaw (17 pts.), Avery Seter (17 pts.).
1B District IV
Taholah 74, Firm Foundation 37
Taholah will be playing for a district title after defeating Firm Foundation 74-37 in the 1B District IV Tournament on Tuesday in Oakville.
Izaiah Mowitch came through with a big game and put up 17 points to lead the Chitwhins.
Taholah also got quality minutes off the bench from Deven James, who chipped in with 14 points.
Taholah head coach Tyler Crossguns said he was pleased to see his team play the game he knew they were capable of playing.
“Our defensive pressure was great tonight,” he said. “Our word of the week is quality. I asked the young men to come out today and put together quality work on the court and the they did just that.”
Taholah will face the Mary M. Knight-Naselle winner for the district title at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday at Montesano High School.
No further information was provided for this game.
— Hasani Grayson, Grays Harbor News Group