(Tacoma, WA) For ESN it was fortunate that 2 teams we regularly cover happened to get matched in back-to-back games at the same location. However, looking at the match-ups we were concerned it was going to be a difficult night. Going into this season the boys basketball at the 2A level in District 4 which is the GSHL and Evco leagues, there was certainly questions of the overall strength of the District. Even perennial power Mark Morris had lost a ton to graduation and looked like a re-building year.
Then the match-ups the #1 seed and District Champion Tumwater and the #3 seed Woodland Beavers got in the Regional round looked like it may be no one from District 4 headed to Yakima. Tumwater ended up with the CWAC Champion out of the Yakima Valley the Selah Vikings. Selah fell to the #3 seed out of District 5 when they lost in the Semi-Finals to Ellensburg by 2 points. The same team they had just beaten by 30 2 weeks ago but were coming in with a 20-3 overall record to Tumwater’s 16-6.
Woodland had improved over the season but this was a team who lost a game this season scoring only 23 points. A team that had a hard time handling the press and simply tried to stall games out with as little offense as possible. Now they got the high flying North Kitsap Vikings the Olympic league and District Champions coming in with an impressive 21-4 record while the Beavers squeaked into Regionals through the consolation bracket of the Dist 4 tournament and were a respectable 16-8 but far from dominating.
The old saying goes like this…on paper it looks like a coin flip at best for Tumwater with many probably favoring Selah and surly a comfortable win for North Kitsap and as the old saying goes THAT’S WHY THEY PLAY THE GAMES!
Both Tumwater and Woodland came away with huge wins and both are how in the top 8 and headed to the Yakima Sun Dome where they are guaranteed at least 2 more games. Below you will find the game re-caps and photo galleries from both games.
Mark Morris fell short of a Dist 4 sweep dropping to Ellensburg 7.
Tumwater 60, Selah 54
Tumwater got off to a great start scoring 20 in the 1st half and 15 in the 2nd to take a 35-28 halftime lead. Tumwater got great inside play from their big man Weston Vandenhazel who scored 12 of his 17 in the 1st 16-minutes Jacob Gibbons hit a pair of 3’s and a 2 for 8. Brian Marty hit a spectacular line drive half court shot at the end of the 1st to push their 2-point lead to 5 points. Elijah Pepper had nearly half the Viking points with 11 in the 1st half and Dustin Yates added 6 to keep Selah in striking distance.
In the 2nd half the Vikings would fall behind 45-36 at the end of 3 and fall further behind by 12 but then reeled off a huge 14-2 run to take a 50-49 lead. That run was led by Pepper who had 17 in the 2nd half and finished with 28. Yates added another 6. Tumwater’s Spencer Dowers then stepped up huge with a move inside to get the lead right back 51-50 then hit a 3 to make it 54-50 and then the front end of a 1-1 to go up 55-50. Gibbons would hit a late 3 and the T-Birds put the game away winning it by 6.
Our Tommy Lowe of Greene Realty Players of the Game went to Jacob Gibbons finishing with 16 and 4 long balls and for Selah Freshman Elijah Pepper with 28 points. Our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game went to Spencer Dowers for his 6-point explosion to give the T-Birds the lead for good. Tumwater will head for Yakima next week for the final 8 looking for their 1st trophy since placing 3rd back in 1976.
Tumwater: Vandenhazel 17, Gibbons 16, Dowers 13, Dowell 6, Geathers 5, Marty 3
Selah: Pepper 28, Yates 12, Wood 5, Donato 4, Hertling 3, Blehm 2
Woodland 63, North Kitsap 50
In game 2 of our double header the favored North Kitsap Vikings weren’t expecting the effort from the Woodland Beavers and they felt it right from the start. The Beavers behind 10 1st quarter points from Tanner Sixberry and 6 from 6’11 Bryce Mulder coupled with a stifling defense Woodland jumped out to a 16-6 lead and never looked back. The Vikings would get their offense going a little bit with 16 in the 2nd quarter with Cole Rabedeaux hitting 9 but the Beavers countered with 18 and took a 34-22 lead into the break.
Nothing really changed in the 2nd half Woodland continued to keep the Vikings at arms length with an even effort in the 3rd maintaining their 12-point lead 42-30. In the 4th quarter with about 2 and a half minutes left to play the Vikings began to foul. The idea was right but the Beavers rose to the challenge hitting 14-19 down the stretch and North Kitsap could never get close. Hayden Huddleston finished 4-5 at the line Tyler Flanagan 4-4 and Sixberry 3-4 in the 2nd half to ice the win.
Our Tommy Lowe of Greene Realty Players of the Game went to Woodland’s Tanner Sixberry finishing with 25 points and North Kitsap’s Cole Rabedeaux with 21. Our ProActive PT Play of the Game was a group effort to the Beavers free throw shooting down the stretch to ice the game. Beavers advance to the Sun Dome and will finish in the top 8 for the 1st time in 31 years.
Ellensburg 70, Mark Morris 59
Ellensburg overcame too many fouls and a late 1st half run by Mark Morris who took a 31-28 halftime lead. The Bulldogs led by Coleman Sparling’s 34 and 13 rebounds pulled away to knock out Mark Morris who are now 0-3 in their last 3 State games. Bryce Helgeson had 11 and Trey Bennett with 10 supported the big effort from Sparling.
Mark Morris was led by Will Burghardt’s 32, no one else would hit double figures for the Monarchs. Ellensburg now advances to the SunDome and the final 8.