Closer to full strength than in the first meeting, Hoquiam’s boys decisively turned the tables on Elma.
Building its lead by scoring in transition to get points in the paint, Hoquiam cruised by the Eagles, 62-33, in an Evergreen 1A League game on Jan. 24 at Hoquiam Square Garden.
Elma (2-14, 4-14) had upset Hoquiam (3-3, 6-11) in overtime in the first meeting, with the Grizzlies missing three starters due to suspension.
Those players were back Wednesday, but the Grizzlies are still waiting for the return of high-scoring wing Victor James, who sprained his ankle at a recent practice.
Hoquiam is hoping James can rejoin his team on the court, but HHS coach Curtis Eccles said his team is already developing chemestry.
“Guys coming back that haven’t played was a big factor,” he said. “Tonight was about the team. Everybody contributed.”
Payton Quintanilla led the Grizzlies with 20 points, while Matt Brown added 17.
Elma and Hoquiam actually had pretty similar offensively strategies with both teams attempting to run the floor.
The Harbor rivals matched each other in pace of play, but the Grizzlies’ size and transition defense gave them the advantage inside.
Elma shot 9-for-27 in the paint while Hoquiam was 25-for-38. Grizzly big men Rayyon Dayton and Matt Brown both created problems on the interior. Dayton had eight points and six rebounds.
Junior Sam Schneider topped Elma with 11 points.
Eccles said he felt confident that running the floor against Elma would give his team the upper hand.
“One of our game plans was to be up-tempo and that went in our favor from the get-go,” he said. “We kind of let up a little bit in the second quarter but then they continued in the second half, so it was an all-around great effort by everybody.”
Playing at a fast pace was working for the Grizzlies in part because the team was able to limit turnovers. Hoquiam only turned the ball over 15 times and found ways to hit the open man when the defense closed down a path to the basket.
Elma head coach Jeff Niemi said he expects his team to shake off the loss and refocus on Montesano on Friday.
“I think we can play better than that,” he said. “I told the guys that some days are just an off day and you don’t make shots you can usually make so I hope that turnaround does help us.”
There wasn’t much in the way of scoring for the Eagles, but Cobey Moore had a good game on the glass and grabbed 12 rebounds. Niemi also highlighted Derique Richey, who played good defense and took a charge that energized the bench in the first quarter.