YAKIMA — Never able to find their shooting touch, Montesano’s boys saw their first state appearance in 36 years end abruptly.
The Northwest School House of Seattle came from behind in the fourth quarter to down the Bulldogs, 47-38, in the single-elimination opening round of the state 1A Boys Basketball Tournament on Feb. 28 at Yakima.
The Bulldogs concluded their season with a 20-6 record.
Despite their efforts to run a faster-paced offense down the stretch, no amount of huffing and puffing by the Bulldogs could knock down the House as Northwest put the game away with a 16-4 run the final minutes of the game.
On a day when the offense never got off the ground, Sam Winter was the only Bulldog in double figures with 10 points. Teammate Trevor Ridgway struggled to find the driving lanes he uses to fuel his offense but moved the ball well around the perimeter and scored eight points.
Senior Azure Holloway-Figueroa led Northwest (19-4) with 14 points.
Monte only knocked down 10 shots from the field and didn’t hit its first jumper until halfway through the second quarter, Monte head coach Doug Galloway wasn’t looking to blame the 9 a.m. tip-off for his team’s poor shooting.
“I don’t know if it messed with our rhythm but we shot 3-23 in the first half and probably didn’t shoot much better in the second,” he said. “You have to score a little bit in order to win, but we played good enough defense to be in that game.”
Strong defense along with solid free throw shooting were all that was keeping the Bulldogs afloat in the first half. That combination actually helped the Bulldogs build a slim 8-6 lead as the House only made one field goal of its own in the first quarter.
That small lead didn’t hold as Northwest was able to nose ahead with a handful of buckets while the Bulldog offensive attack continued to languish.
The Bulldogs seemed to be getting a lot of the looks at the basket that have worked for them all season, but Galloway said missing some early shots in the paint took a toll on his team.
“I like (the shot selection) early and we missed a few, and I think it kind of weighed on our emotions at that point in time,” he said. “The kids took some good shots and they took some bad shots. That’s just high school basketball.”
Down 24-20 at the half, the Bulldogs rallied in the third quarter. Evan Bates sank two free throws near the end of the period to give Monte a 34-31 lead entering the final period.
But Northwest put together one of its better offensive efforts in the fourth quarter, driving effectively and kicking out to some open shooters on the perimeter.
With both teams struggling to score from the field, a slightly better day of 3-point shooting from Northwest was one of the most noticeable differences.
Monte shot 2 of 13 from beyond the arc, while the House wasn’t afraid to shoot from downtown and put up 30 3-pointers, connecting on eight.
This, coupled with a four-point fourth quarter, was too much for Monte to handle and the comeback attempt sputtered out.
This marked the final appearances for Monte seniors Ridgway, L.J. Valley, Donovan Albert, Cameron Wyatt, Seth Dierkop, Gage Iverson and Curtis Johansson.
Galloway said he couldn’t be more proud of his team’s season, a campaign filled with landmark accomplishments.
“The kids have just been phenomenal. They’ve done everything that we as a coaching staff have asked,” he said. “We’re proud of them and we know the community is proud of them,”
Northwest 6 18 7 16 — 47
Montesano 8 12 14 4 — 38
Northwest (47) — Holloway-Figueroa 14, Cockburn 12, Davidson, Roldan-Barrios 6, Jeannot 10, Lotawa, X. DeVore 2, O. DeVore. FG — 16-51 (.314). FT 7-12.
Montesano (38) — Bates 4, Ridgway 8, Winter 10, Nicklas 4, Albert, Parker, Wyatt, Valley 6, Farmer 5, Iverson 1, Dierkop 2 , Johansson. FG — 10-51 (.196). FT— 13-16.