ELMA — Montesano’s offense came alive in the second quarter to propel the Bulldogs to victory over Elma 61-38 on Jan. 31.
Montesano (12-8, 6-2 Evergreen 1A) was locked in a close one early on as the Eagles (1-18, 0-7) hit a few jumpers to make it a one-possession game in the opening frame.
Elma hit two of its four 3-pointers in the first quarter and trailed 11-10 at the end of one period.
Monte turned it on offensively in the second frame and had success finding driving the lane. The Bulldogs aggressive style of play yielded free-throw attempts with Monte going 9-for-10 at the charity stripe in the second quarter.
Bulldogs head coach Doug Galloway was impressed with Elma’s shooting in the early going and was encouraged with the way his team stuck with its plan.
“Teams are going to hit threes. It is what it is,” he said. “You have to give Elma credit to hit those threes right off the bat, but we stuck with it and kept running our stuff.”
Monte’s second-quarter push was enough to give the Bulldogs a 34-17 lead at halftime.
Though the Eagles couldn’t find a way to close the gap in the second half, Elma head coach Jeff Niemi said he felt as if this is one of the best games his team had played all year.
“If you would have told me we only turned the ball over ten times against Monte, I would have said, ‘I’ll take that,’ ” Niemi said. “We have never shown, until this day, that we can handle pressure that well. That’s one thing I thought we started to execute much better toward the end of the season.”
Montesano maintained its advantage throughout the third quarter, when Sam Winter scored five of his team-leading 12 points.
The Bulldogs opted to give their bench players some extra playing time in the second half while Elma elected to keep its seniors on the floor until late in the fourth quarter on Senior Night.
Junior guard Cody Vollan led the Eagles with 10 points and seven rebounds in Elma’s last game of the season.
Niemi said he appreciated the effort of his seniors and thinks their leadership will have a positive influence on the direction of the program.
“I’m really proud of my seniors. They accepted their roles and worked their hardest to be great in their roles,” he said. “They showed the younger guys that being on a team means accepting your role and doing what the team needs.”
Elma is looking forward to next season while the Bulldogs will be looking forward to the Class 1A District IV tournament.