The Montesano boys basketball team made sure there would be no nail-biting Hoquiam comeback last week.
An energetic Bulldogs team kept the pedal to the metal to pull away from the Grizzlies for a 72-38 league-opening victory on Jan. 7 in Montesano.
With Hoquiam holding on to a slim lead at 14-11, Monte went on a 6-0 run to end the quarter, capped by senior guard Braden Dohrmann hitting 3-of-4 free throws over the final two minutes to give Monte a lead it would never relinquish.
The Bulldogs kept up the pressure in the second quarter, extending the lead to 34-22 on a Wesley Bjornsgard 3-pointer at the a minute, 30 seconds left in the half. Trace Ridgway’s drive and layup with two seconds left set the score heading into the locker rooms at 40-22.
But Hoquiam had been down 18 in the second half of its previous game against Aberdeen and rallied to send the game into overtime.
Montesano was determined to squash any hopes Hoquiam had of pulling off another improbable comeback.
“We talked about it at halftime. We studied that (Hoquiam-Aberdeen) game as well and we talked about making sure we played until the end,” Bulldogs head coach Doug Galloway said. “I felt our kids really did a nice job, especially coming out in that third quarter.”
In the opening minutes of the third quarter, Monte doubled down on its energy output. The Bulldogs pressured and disrupted Hoquiam’s offense, limited the Grizzlies to one shot per trip and crashed the offensive glass to get multiple scoring opportunities.
Monte’s lead quickly ballooned to 55-26 on a Carter Olsen three midway through the third.
“At halftime I said, ‘We’ve done it before and we could do it again,’ ” Hoquiam head coach Curtis Eccles said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for us. … We didn’t get close at all to what we wanted to do.”
Part of Hoquiam’s problems, according to Eccles, was Monte’s relentless hustle on the offensive glass and his shooters failing to knock down what open looks they did have.
“They were able to get second and third opportunities where we’d have position,” he said. “If you’re shooting around 24%, you are not going to win many ballgames. … They came out with a lot more energy and their work ethic showed compared to ours. We need to get back and understand how important it is to match our opponents’ energy and we didn’t match it tonight, whatsoever.”
Olsen led Monte with 17 points, 11 of those coming in a third quarter where the senior guard buried three 3-pointers.
Bjornsgard had 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting with Dohrmann chipping in 10 points for the Bulldogs.
Hoquiam was led by Garrett Dick, who scored 11 points on 5-of-16 shooting and was the only Grizzlies player in double figures.
Hoquiam’s top shooter, senior Cameron Bumstead, was held to just seven points and hit just one shot from beyond the arc.
“At any point in time, (Bumstead) can go for big numbers,” Galloway said. “We wanted to make sure our kids knew they were capable of coming back in a big way, and I was very proud of our kids at taking care of the ball and extending (the lead).”
Hoquiam 52, Elma 50
In a game where neither team shot lights out from the free-throw line, the final result would be determined by which team could convert from the charity stripe down the stretch.
That team turned out to be the Hoquiam Grizzlies.
Hoquiam shooters converted 5-of-6 foul shots in the final two minutes to earn a key 52-50 Class 1A Evergreen League victory over Elma on Friday, Jan. 10, in Elma.
Down 48-45 after Elma’s Raiden Aho buried a 3-pointer at the 2:00 mark of the fourth quarter, Hoquiam responded when Cameron Bumstead converted two free throws followed with a layup a possession later as the Grizzlies retook the lead at 49-48.
Elma’s Nick Church then made an nifty up-and-under move to score as Elma regained the lead 50-49 with just over a minute left.
But that was the last field goal either team would make in the game, as free throws turned out to be the difference. Bumstead was fouled again with a little over 30 seconds left, converting both shots to give Hoquiam a 51-50 lead.
Elma’s Johnston was fouled, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1 as Hoquiam held a one-point advantage.
Hoquiam’s Zach Elsos hit the back end of two free throws, giving the Grizzlies a 52-50 lead with approximately 20 seconds left in the game.
A last-second 3-point attempt by Elma’s Sawyer Witt failed to hit iron, giving the Grizzlies a 52-50 victory, their first league win of the season.
“The kids know that the games can be won or lost at the free-throw line and this was one of those games that demonstrated that philosophy,” Hoquiam head coach Curtis Eccles said. “Fortunately for us, it ended up being a win because free throws.”
Hoquiam hit 9-of-14 foul shots for the game, 5-for-8 in the fourth quarter.
Elma converted 5-of-15 free throws and were just 3-for-8 in the final eight minutes.
“It kind of turned into a free-throw shooting contest, and going 5-0f-15, you’re just not going to win a lot of games shooting that way,” Elma head coach Jeff Niemi said. “That’s two games in a row now where if we get a backside rebound, we’re probably going home happy. That’s the frustrating part. We just couldn’t close it out with a rebound in the end.”
Elma held a six-point lead twice in the game. The Eagles jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the first quarter before Hoquiam took the lead at 12-11. Elma held a 43-37 lead after a Cobey Moore free throw early in the fourth quarter, but Hoquiam again responded, pulling closer after Cayden Schempf hit back-to-back baseline jumpers to cut the Eagles’ lead to 44-41 with 3:38 left.
Hoquiam would regain the lead less than a minute later on jumpers by Garrett Dick and Bumstead with just under three minutes left.
The lead would change hands three more times until Bumstead’s free throws gave Hoquiam the lead for good.
Bumstead led Hoquiam with 18 points, nine rebounds, five steals and five assists while Schempf added 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting for the Grizzlies.
Witt and Johnston led Elma, scoring 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The victory was an important one for a Grizzlies team that had lost a double-overtime heartbreaker to Aberdeen followed by being on the wrong end of a rout against Montesano.
“This is huge because a loss tonight means three in a row and the kids would be down in the dumps,” Eccles said. “This type of win, playing Elma on the road, is a huge win for us and gets us back to 1-1 in the league.”
Niemi will use this coming week’s practice to get the up-and-coming Eagles back on track.
“It’s kind of a little bit of a gut-check time for us,” he said. “You’ve got to decide: Are you going to compete to the end or not? Two times in a row we haven’t finished the job. So that’s the word of the week for next week: Finish.”
Napavine 62, Elma 61 (OT)
A layup off an airball ended up being the difference as Elma lost 62-61 in overtime to Napavine on Jan. 8 in Napavine.
Down by three at halftime, Elma outscored Napavine 19-16 in the third quarter to tie the game at 39-39 heading into the fourth quarter.
Elma had chances in the fourth quarter to take a late lead, but poor free-throw shooting prevented Elma from winning in regulation. The Eagles shot 4-for-13 from the line in the game, 2-of-7 in the fourth quarter.
In overtime, Elma led by one at 61-60 in the waning moments of the game, but the Eagles’ free-throw struggles continued as they missed two foul shots, giving Napavine a chance to take the lead late in the game.
A Napavine layup attempt missed everything, falling into the hands of Tigers guard Gavin Parker. The senior made a reverse layup to give Napavine a 62-61 lead with just a few ticks left on the clock.
Elma’s last-second, full-court heave at the buzzer was off-target, securing the victory for the Tigers.
Elma was led by Brady Johnston, who scored 20 points to go along with eight rebounds and four assists.
Cobey Moore added 17 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Eagles.
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Montesano 65, Tenino 30
Montesano’s stellar senior center Zoe Hutchings passed a major milestone in the Bulldogs’ 65-30 victory over Tenino on Friday, Jan. 10, in Tenino.
In scoring 18 points, Hutchings surpassed 1,000 points in her high school career.
McKynnlie Dalan led Monte with 19 points while Paige Lisherness added 15 points for the Bulldogs.
Montesano 67, Hoquiam 22
The Hoquiam Grizzlies had no answer for Montesano’s Zoe Hutchings, who scored 30 points to lead the Bulldogs to a 67-22 rout Jan. 7 in Montesano.
Hutchings scored half her points in the third quarter, most coming on offensive rebounds and putbacks as the undersized Grizzlies had trouble keeping the 6-foot-3 center off the glass.
Monte took a 13-1 lead on back-to-back drive and lay-ups by freshman McKynnlie Dalan and never looked back, leading 22-8 at the end of the first quarter and 38-13 at the half.
Dalan scored 13 points for the Bulldogs.
Hoquiam was led by Sharaya Brydon, who scored 11 points. No other Grizzly had more than five points in the contest.
Elma 62, Hoquiam 27
Elma jumped out to a 25-0 lead after one quarter and cruised to a 62-27 win over Hoquiam on Friday in Elma.
Jalyn Sackrider scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead the Eagles (8-4, 1-0 Evergreen 1A), which had 21 assists and 21 steals as a team.
Kali Rambo had 12 points for Elma and senior point guard Jillian Bieker scored six points, had six assists and recorded six steals for the Eagles.
Sharaya Brydon and Maddie German led Hoquiam (2-10, 0-2) with six and five points, respectively.
Annie Wright 68, Elma 62
Annie Wright’s Juliana Walker and Taia Mitchell scored 34 and 22 points, respectively, to hand Elma a 68-62 loss on Jan. 8 in Elma.
The Eagles led by seven points early in the second quarter, but the Gators hit three 3-pointers to take a lead they would never relinquish.
Jalyn Sackrider scored 16 points and grabbed 19 rebounds to lead Elma.
Ella Moore, Kayli Rambo and Quin Mikel, who returned after a leg injury kept her sidelined this season, scored nine points each for Elma.
Jillian Bieker had five steals, five assists and three blocks for Elma.