ESN is covering all 4 games of the annual North Thurston boys basketball Invitational. Below is the score, re-cap and picture gallery of each game.

Day 2

River Ridge 62, North Thurston 61

The North Thurston Holiday Invitational was capped off with a great crosstown rivalry showdown that went down, literally, to the final second. After 2 straight losses River Ridge had been trying to break out of a funk and did so with a tough fought 2-point win over Shelton in the opener of the NTHI but coach John Barbee still didn’t believe they were back. He says the Hawk intensity was missing. Apparently facing your cross town rival spurred on the emotion he was looking for as his Hawks came out flying high.

In the 1st quarter the Hawks came out strong as Alex Coleman picked his offense up from the team high 18 he had against Shelton scoring all 9 of his points in the 1st half. Jordan Skipper-Brown and Josh Kennedy both were swatting shots right and left and after the 1st Ridge had built a 7 point lead and appeared in control of this game.

The Rams looked like a boxer who took a big hit in the 1st round and staggered a bit but then found their footing and came right back at the Hawks. The cool demeanor took advantage of the overly aggressive at times Hawks as they racked up a bunch of fouls. The Rams would go to the foul line 15 times in the 1st half hitting 10 of them. Clay Christian was just warming up as he posted 13 in the 1st half and Tim Tenkley added 6 as they pulled within 5 of the Hawks trailing 33-28. DeNero Washington was a true spark plug for Ridge off the bench and led the Hawks with 10 at the break.

The Rams would continue their comeback in the 3rd behind a monster game from Christian who would finish with 36. They would score 19 and trail by just 1 after 3 quarters 48-47 setting up a 4th quarter to remember. The momentum the Rams built carried over when they took their 1st lead of the game 10-seconds into the 4th quarter on a Christian 3-pointer.

Christian would hit all the field goals in the 2nd half for the Rams except a 2 point shot from James Beatty and a 3-ball from Garrett Wallace. NT would continue to get sent to the foul line taking another 17 free throws ultimately going 20-32. The foul calling was certainly 1-sided as the Hawks were whistled for 24 fouls while North Thurston had 9. The Hawks had a total of 9 free throws hitting 7 of them.

NT would push their lead to as many as 5 but a total of 8 Hawks would score in this game and one of their leaders Trey Dorfner rose to the challenge. Trey scored 2 long balls in the 1st half but got down and dirty in the 2nd attacking the rack putting in 8 and a free throw to finish with 15. Washington kept attacking the inside and added 8 2nd half points while Kelle Sanders muscled up 7 points 5 in the 2nd half. Skipper-Brown had several spectacular defensive plays he also had the put back game with just 9-seconds to play. Skipper-Brown would then make our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game when he swatted the potential game winning shot out of bounds with less than a second to play and the Hawks would secure the win and post their 2nd straight victory to improve to 7-3. The Rams drop to 5-4.

Our Tommy Lowe of Greene Realty Players of the Game went to DeNero Washington for River Ridge and Christian Clay for North Thurston.


River Ridge:DeNero Washington 18, Trey Dorfner 15, Alex Coleman 9, Jordan Skipper-Brown 8, Kelle Sanders 7, Kolton Knox 2, Mark Valerio 2, Josh Kennedy 1

North Thurston: Clay Christian 36, Tim Tenkley 8, Garrett Wallace 6, Michael Sallee 5, Aaron Stone 4, James Beatty 2

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Tumwater 64, Shelton 52

Both teams came into this match-up off frustrating losses and it would come down to which team could bounce back the fastest. Shelton lost their opener in the NTHI to River Ridge in the final minute after leading 90% of the game while Tumwater simply could not get their offense on track and put up only 41 points.

The T-Birds certainly found their offense in this game with the Highclimbers and jumped out to a 28-17 halftime lead led by Brian Marty’s 17 points. Cade Otton was solid with 5 points and plenty of rebounds in the paint. Marty at 5’9 is also an amazingly good rebounder and likely finished the game with a double-double.

The officiating certainly tightened up in the 2nd half a total of 35 free throws between the 2 teams. Caleb Hitsman led the Highclimbers in scoring with 14 all from the line. Tyler Giraldes kept the Shelton hopes alive with strong play in the paint and finishing with 13. Overall 44 fouls were whistled in the game. Despite hitting 18 free throws the Highclimbers could never really bridge the early gap as Tumwater kept them at arm’s length.

Marty finished off the game for Tumwater with 29 while Otton also hit double figs with 10. CJ Geathers picked up a lot of the scoring slack hitting all 9 of his points in the second half including a nifty steal, lay-in and free throw which would win our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game.

The T-Birds would improve to 5-4 overall while the Highclimbers dropped 4-5. Our Tommy Lowe of Greene Realty Players of the Game went to Tumwater’s Brian Marty and Shelton’s Tyler Giraldes.


Tumwater: Brian Marty 29, Cade Otton 10, CJ Geathers 9, Andrew May 5, Thomas Drayton 4, Isaiah Koukal 3, Aidan Slater 2, Brock Kibler 2

Shelton: Caleb Hitsman 14, Tyler Giraldes 13, Marshall McCullough 8, Jason Kenyon 7, Kyle Kimball 4, Travis Colbenson 3, Noah Benson 3

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Day 1

River Ridge 58, Shelton 56

The River Ridge Hawks were coming in on a 2-game losing streak and looking to snap it against 3A Shelton who were on a 2 game winning streak and looking to extend it. It looked like the Highclimbers would indeed do that as they led the entire 1st half except for one possession where the Hawks took a 12-11 lead but would trail the4 Climbers 28-22 at the break. Kyle Kimball set the pace for Shelton scoring 8 of his game high 20 in the 1st half.

Marshall McCullough had a solid effort for the Climbers dumping 6 of his 13 in the 1st half while playing stingy defense and distributing the ball as well. The Hawks struggled offensively and were led by Josh Kennedy’s 6, however the Hawks defense was tough and they stayed within striking distance.

In the 3rd quarter the Hawks would dig into that lead scoring 23 to pull within 2 points trailing 47-45. Alex Coleman would spur on the Hawks knocking down 3 2nd half long balls on his way to a team high 18. Jordan Skipper-Brown played a big part in the paint grabbing boards and pounding a 1-handed jam that earned our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game.

In the 4th quarter, River Ridge completed the comeback and pulled ahead only to see McCullough hit 2 free throws with 48-seconds to play and tie the game at 56. Trey Dorfner would then bank in the winning shot as the Hawks held on for the win.

The Hawks improved to 6-3 while Shelton dropped to 4-4. Our Tommy Lowe of Greene Realty Players of the Game went to River Ridges’ Alex Coleman and Shelton’s Marshall McCullough.


River Ridge: Alex Coleman 18, Jordan Skipper-Brown 10, Josh Kennedy 10, Trey Dorfner 6, Kelle Sanders 6, TJ Page 4, DeNero Washington 4

Shelton: Kyle Kimball 20, Marshall McCullough, Tyler Giraldes 9, Travis Colbenson 5, Ty Thompson 4, Caleb Hitsman 3, Jason Kenyon 2

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North Thurston 46, Tumwater 41

The Tumwater offense was missing this entire game until a run late but that short run was still enough to nearly pull off a comeback win over the host team North Thurston. Despite a woeful T-Bird offense the Rams were never able to totally put them away.

Tumwater actually got off to a better start leading after 1 11-6 as NT could only muster a half dozen points in the opening 8 minutes. In the 2nd quarter both teams continued to struggle finding the bottom of the net but the Rams began to find their stride led by Clay Christian and took their 1st lead in the game 14-13 at the 3:50 mark. The 2 teams would finish the half separated by just 1 point with the Rams leading 20-19.

In the 2nd half Christian would lead the Rams to their biggest quarter as they outscored the Rams 15-6 for a 35-25 lead going into the 4th and final period. However, Christian and Rams point guard Gunner Nielsen would pick up key 4th fouls and Tumwater took advantage in their run late in the game.

Tumwater’s Brian Marty would be responsible for all 6 T-Bird points in the 3rd quarter scoring all 6 at the free throw line as the Rams defense held Tumwater to zero field goals while extending that lead. It looked like North Thurston would continue their 2nd half ways pushing to a 14 point lead. The Rams had been playing a very deliberate style, taking a lot of time of the shot clock and finding their way to the foul line 13 times in the 2nd half alone and 24 for the game.

The Rams then began to push the pace when Tumwater finally got going and nearly made NT pay for it coming back to within 2 points late in the game. The run was multi-faceted with CJ Geather’s hitting a huge teardrop 3-ball and hitting another 3-point play with a free throw. Marty, Cade Otton, Thomas Drayton all scored in the 4th as they pulled within 41-39 with  90-seconds to play.

Christian then hit a huge shot pushing it back to a 4-point game but a pair free throws would give Tumwater another shot with loss than a minute to play. Rams Sophomore Tim Tenkley was fouled and had a chance to pretty much close out the game and hit both shots to push the game back to 4 45-41, a late free throw took it to the final and the Rams held on for the win.

North Thurston improved to 5-3 overall while Tumwater dropped to 4-4. Our Tommy Lowe of Greene Realty Players of the Game went to the Rams’ Clay Christian and the T-Birds’ Brian Marty while our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game went to NT’s Tim Tenkley hitting 2 key free throws with the game on the line.


North Thurston: Clay Christian 23, Tim Tenkley 8, Garrett Wallace 5, Michael Sallee 4, James Beatty 3, Jeremy Spencer 2, Aaron Stone 1

Tumwater: Brian Marty 15, CJ Geathers 8, Thomas Drayton 8, Cade Otton 5, Isaiah Koukal 2, Aiden Slater 1

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By paulb

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