A depleted Hoquiam team saw its season come to an end on Tuesday as the Forks Spartans pulled away over the final minutes of the game to hand the Grizzlies a 58-49 loss in the consolation round of the 1A District 4 Tournament at Montesano High School.
Playing with just eight players after five juniors quit the team just hours ahead of the Grizzlies’ first-round district game against King’s Way Christian on Friday, Hoquiam (8-14 overall) wasn’t deterred in staying right with Forks (14-8) for much of the first half.
The Grizzlies shot 7-of-15 in the first quarter, led by Cameron Bumstead’s seven points, to take a 17-10 lead after the first eight minutes of play.
But in a theme that would present itself throughout the game, Hoquiam trailed by just one point at 26-25 with two minutes left in the second quarter before turnovers led to a late Spartans run as the Grizzlies fell behind 31-25 by halftime.
Hoquiam would respond in the third quarter on the back of its half-court trap defense. The Grizzlies quickly used the trap to force a Spartans turnover in the first possession of the second half as Cameron Bumstead cruised in for a breakaway layup.
Hoquiam’s trap caused another turnover on the ensuing Forks possession, and the Grizzlies made them pay. Garrett Dick buried a three from the corner as Hoquiam closed the gap to 31-30, forcing a Spartans timeout with just over a minute elapsed in the third quarter.
The Grizzlies captured the lead at 35-34 when Trey Brydon took a feed from Giovani Foster and scored with 1:18 left in the period.
After a Forks basket, Foster scored in the paint with six seconds left to give the Grizzlies a 37-36 lead heading to the fourth quarter.
The teams would trade leads over the first four minutes of the final period. Hoquiam took a 45-43 lead on a Bumstead bucket at the 4:09 mark, but the Spartans’ Logan Olson buried a 3-pointer 30 seconds later as Forks pulled in front 46-45.
After a Spartans timeout, Forks decided to feed the ball to co-league MVP Trey Baysinger in the paint, and the 6-foot-1 junior produced results. Baysinger scored on three straight possessions to give the Spartans a 52-45 lead with 1:15 left on the clock.
Hoquiam’s Zach Elsos ended the Forks run with a shot in the post, trimming Forks’ lead to 52-47 with 1:05 left in the game.
But Baysinger scored again after receiving a nice feed from Olson for a 56-47 lead with 33 seconds left.
Olson was able to go 4-for-4 from the free-throw line down the stretch to secure the Spartans victory and end Hoquiam’s season.
Bumstead led the Grizzlies with 18 points.
Garrett Dick scored 11 points and Elsos added 10 points for Hoquiam.
“As much as we were trying to prevent them from getting their looks, I felt that fatigue set in a little bit,” Hoquiam head coach Curtis Eccles said. “But at the same time, I’ve got to give credit to our guys and the way they battled. A lot of people probably thought we wouldn’t be in this game with the personnel we had tonight. Our kids showed a lot of heart in the way they battled and it just came down to a few shots (Forks) made and, unfortunately, a few shots we missed in the end was the difference.”
With just seven eligible players, three being junior varsity players, Eccles was proud of how his team persevered through late-season adversity, culminating with five players, all juniors, quitting just hours before they opened district play and a volunteer coach being let go from the team.
“I’ve got to give credit to those JV players that stepped up and really battled against a good Forks team. We were right there,” he said before turning his attention to his outgoing seniors and coaching staff. “They put in four years and have been dedicated. … I thank them for that and wish them well in the future. And I want to thank our assistant coaches for their help, all of them, even the volunteer coaches because we put in a lot of time this year and to qualify for the district tournament is always a good thing. And the way we battled tonight, after the adversity these guys have gone through, shows a lot of character and I applaud them for never giving up and battling all the way to the end.”
Toledo 49, Raymond 39
Raymond’s impressive season came to an unceremonious end on Tuesday as the Seagulls fell to Toledo 49-39 in a 2B District 4 girls consolation game at Castle Rock High School.
Raymond (19-4) held a lead of 20-18 at the half and 31-29 at the end of the third quarter in the elimination game.
But the Seagulls lost track of Toledo shooters and Raymond was outscored by 12 in the final quarter, only getting as close as five points on two occasions as the Indians (20-3) were paced by Grace Tauscher, who scored eight of her team-high 20 points in the period.
“I thought we came out right and weathered the storm early. … In the second (quarter) we switched defenses, which gave them a different look, and I thought our kids did a great job identifying their personnel and not give them looks they normally like,” Raymond head coach Jason Koski said of his team’s defensive success. “In the fourth, we lost track of their personnel.”
Raymond’s Kyra Gardner closed out her all-state worthy season with 22 points, 12 rebounds and six steals and three blocks.
Hannah Miller scored six points and Kyndal Koski added five points for Raymond.
Callie McVey added five rebounds for Raymond after filling in for Seagulls starting guard Izzy Silvernail, who went down in the third quarter with an ankle sprain and didn’t return.
Coach Koski believes losing two-of-three district-tournament games can be a positive learning experience for his young squad.
“I’m proud the kids were able to finish second in league and finished the season with a 19-4 record. But this one and the Rainier game were games that we gave ourselves a chance to win but couldn’t get over the hump,” he said. “We have no seniors, so that is a positive, but the girls will need to work on their individual games for our team to make that next jump.”