Montesano made quick work of Forks on Senior Night with a 49-31 win on Friday, Jan. 25, at home.
Zoe Hutchings had 17 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double while Lexi Lovell used a couple of 3-pointers to chip in with 10 points of her own in the victory.
Montesano got scoring from up and down the bench as all six seniors scored in their last regular-season home game.
Montesano head coach Julie Graves was pleased with her team’s energy for the most part, though some of her players had Senior Night festivities in the back of their minds.
“I thought we got out there and played hard but I don’t think it was as hard as we could have played,” she said. “We were lacking a little bit of energy and I think with the anticipation of Senior Night, we burned some of that energy before the game.”
Montesano (12-7, 6-1 Evergreen 1A) took a 23-14 lead into halftime thanks in large part to its inside scoring. The Bulldogs found a lot of success going inside and getting to the free-throw line.
The Bulldogs hit one 3-pointer in the first half and picked up eight points in the first half at the charity stripe.
Matti Eckerson said ball movement into the post was one of the keys to victory.
“I think we got into our posts pretty well,” she said. “We passed the ball and moved it around to our shooters and they were knocking down shots.”
After going through a bit of an offensive lull where the Bulldogs only hit one shot from the field in the second quarter, Montesano found its rhythm again and posted 15 points in the third.
The win keeps Monte in first place, a half-game up on Elma.
Monte’s next game is 7 p.m. Friday at Elma.
The Eagle started a difficult week off on the wrong foot Monday with a home loss against W.F. West. Elma then faced Forks on Tuesday, which ended too late for this edition.
Graves said she would like to cut down on her team’s turnovers before facing the Eagles.
“We have to continue to take care of the basketball. We had several unforced turnovers and you just can’t have those in a close game,” she said. “We need to continue to get better rebounding as well. Those are the two things you can always improve on.”
Montesano 51, Tenino 37
Montesano used its defense to set the tone early on and get transition points on a night where the Bulldogs came away with 11 steals Jan. 22 against Tenino.
Glory Grubb had a team-high five steals in the contest and said getting steals while pressing was a priority at the start of the game.
“You can’t win without points, but defense wins games. We knew from the beginning that if we didn’t come out strong on defense and talk, then we were going to have a tough night,” she said. “When we got in our pregame huddle, the first words we said were ‘defense, defense, defense.’ ”
While Monte’s defense was in control for most of the first half, Zoee Lisherness handled business on the offensive end and scored 13 of her 15 points in the first 16 minutes of play.
Montesano was the more aggressive team out of the gate, but Tenino (13-6, 4-3) didn’t fold under the pressure and stayed within striking distance for the entire first half.
The Bulldogs had a 14-7 lead after one quarter and seemed destined to head into halftime with a five-point lead until a Katie Granstrom 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left provided some additional breathing room.
“That almost felt like a game-winner,” Grubb said. “I told Katie I would be open by half court and she dribble right past me. At first I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ And then she made it.”
Granstrom’s half-court heave gave the Bulldogs a 28-20 lead at the half, but Monte had trouble building on that in third quarter.
While the Bulldogs’ offense stalled after the break, so did the Tenino’s as both teams only hit one shot from the field in the third frame.
Monte still managed to outscore Tenino 5-4 in the third, but Bulldogs head coach Julie Graves said some adjustments had to be made heading into the fourth.
“I think we rushed our shots, and we didn’t move the ball well,” she said. “We were just kind of taking the first available shot, and we didn’t have people in rebounding position. We talked about it, and we got lot better ball movement going into the fourth quarter.”
Teino’s leading scorer Ashley Schow didn’t do too much damage in the third quarter but still ended up scoring a game-high 16 points.
Montesano responded by having its best offensive quarter of the game, scoring 18 points in the final frame. Post player Zoe Hutchings came up big in the final eight minutes, scoring nine of her 15 points down the stretch.
In addition to her point total, Hutchings had another solid game cleaning the glass with eight rebounds.
“We had our ups and downs, but right now we’re really strong together,” Grub said. “Sometimes it was hard to get along, but we worked through it all, and I think right now we’re the strongest we’ve been together.”
Elma 49, Tenino 48
With a week remaining in the regular season, the Class 1A Evergreen League is a two-team race.
The Elma Eagles (16-1, 5-1 Evergreen 1A, before the Jan. 29 game against Montesano) emerged victorious with a 49-48 victory over the Tenino Beavers (13-6, 4-3) on Jan. 24 in Tenino.
Elma got big performances from three of its top players Thursday. Quin Mikel led the way for the Eagles, recording a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Jalyn Sackrider and Kali Rambo each scored in double figures for Elma. Sackrider tied Mikel as the game’s leading scorer with 15 points while Rambo chipped in 10 points for the Eagles.
Tenino stayed in the game by hitting 14-of-15 free throws in the fourth quarter.
Elma has a back-to-back scheduled early next week. The Eagles lost a nonleague contest against W.F. West on Monday in Elma. Then Tuesday, they traveled to Forks for a 5:45 p.m. game, which ended too late for this edition.
They close out the regular season at home against No. 15 Monte at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1, which could be for the league title.
No further information was provided.
Elma 72, Hoquiam 27
Elma didn’t have too much trouble against a depleted Hoquiam squad Jan. 22, beating the Grizzlies at home.
The Eagles got double-double performances from Jalyn Sackrider and Quin Mikel.
The Grizzlies’ Rylee Vonhof had a double-double night, scoring a team-best 13 points while grabbing 10 boards.
No further information was provided.
Montesano’s Farley advances to state bowling
Montesano’s Annalynn Farley bowled an average of 157 for her three games at Friday’s district tournament to qualify for the Class 2A state tournament.
Farely was one of six bowlers not on the three state-qualifying teams (Mark Morris, WF West, Black Hills) to earn a trip to state.