By Tyler Hergert
On Saturday three games took place with quite a bit on the line. Raymond and Chief Leschi were battling for the fifth and final spot out of District 4 in a winner-to-state scenario between the two P2BL schools. Napavine and Wahkiakum would battle again in a C2BL matchup and another game between C2BL foes, Adna and Morton-White Pass would go at it again for the District 4 title.
Raymond Seagulls vs Chief Leschi Warriors
Raymond was looking to end their circuitous route to the 5th place game with a victory. The Seagulls lost their first game to Adna in the opening round before winning back-to-back games over Toutle Lake, 73-69, and Rainier, 55-49, before taking a tough loss against Wahkiakum, 64-50 on Friday night. Chief Leschi had a thrilling victory over Toutle Lake as the Warriors hit a buzzer-beater to get the 55-54 win before running into a very hot MWP squad in the semifinals on Wednesday. The Warriors faced off Napavine in a tight contest on Friday night but fell short 56-52 before Saturday’s game.
Chief Leschi hit the ground running in the first quarter, bursting for 23 points to have a 23-10 lead over Raymond. The second quarter belonged to the Seagulls as Raymond had 19 points to pull them within six at the halftime break, 35-29. Raymond’s Morgan Anderson led all scorers at the half with 11 points as he was the only player in double figures.
In the second half, Chief Leschi got back to their scoring ways as the Warriors had 19 in the third quarter and 24 points in the fourth. Raymond fought hard but Chief Leschi’s constant in-your-face pressure was too much for the Seagulls to overcome. Chief Leschi would punch their ticket to State with a 78-57 win.
Our MVP was Brendon Brown who had 24 points, 15 of those in the second half, and buried six threes.
Wahkiakum Mules vs Napavine Tigers
Mules and Tigers and threes, oh my! The three-point shot was the theme of the day at W.F. West as both Wakhiakum and Napavine would continue that great shooting display in the fourth game of the day. Both C2BL schools knew they were headed to state but Napavine was looking to grab third in the district after being first in the league while Wahkiakum was looking to get revenge on the Tigers after suffering a tough 80-64 loss in January.
In the first half, Napavine’s C2BL Co-MVP James Grose proved why he was meritoriously awarded that title. He had a whopping 20 points in the first half, as Napavine’s all-time leading scorer would lead his Tigers to a 38-26 halftime lead. Grose, who already won a state title in football this year, is looking to add to his tremendous junior year with a basketball state title and help Napavine be the first 2B school to win both state championships in the same school year. He might be Mr. Napavine if he can do so. Wahkiakum was fortunate to trim the lead down to a dozen at the half as the Mules hit a lull in the second quarter but finished with two crucial threes to end the half on a positive note.
In the second half, Napavine would continue to get shots to fall as Karsen Denault, another star on the gridiron, would get himself into double figures but was superb rebounding for the Tigers too. Napavine held a 54-37 lead after three quarters and Wahkiakum couldn’t trim the lead into single digits. Every time they got close, Napavine would have an answer to keep the Mules at bay. Napavine would take the victory 68-53 led by Grose’s 29-point performance. Wahkiakum made eight threes as a team and Zakk Carlson had four himself, but despite three Mules being in double figures, the Tigers were a little too much on Saturday as they hit a dozen threes as a team in their winning effort.
Our MVP was Napavine’s James Grose who had 29 points and seven threes.
Adna Pirates vs Morton-White Pass Timberwolves 2B District 4 Championship Game
The third and final rematch of the day had the most on the line. Adna not only was trying to win the district but potentially securing a top-eight seed to guarantee themselves a spot in Spokane. MWP won the first matchup between the two schools, winning on the road 70-63 last month.
The first half was a tale of two quarters. Adna was able to pull out to a 14-12 first-quarter lead but MWP responded to take a 26-22 lead at the halftime break. MWP’s Hunter Hazen led all scorers with 12 first-half points. It was a very physical first half but the referees let the players play as only two fouls were called on each side.
In the second half, MWP came out of halftime on fire as they controlled both ends of the floor. The T-Wolves held Adna to just nine points while putting up 23 themselves and opened up a 49-31 lead after three. In the fourth quarter, both teams emptied their benches as MWP was up by 20. MWP ended up taking the championship in a 67-43 rout over Adna who had a tough shooting night. The Pirates were held to under 30% from the field and Eli Smith was the only Pirate in double figures. Josh Salguero and Hunter Hazen both eclipsed 20 points again as Hazen had a game-high 24.
After cutting down the nets and repping their brand new District championship t-shirts, MWP head coach, Chad Cramer brought in not just all of his players, but the entire MWP student section and fans who made the trip to Chehalis for some words of encouragement before in unison the crowd yelled, “family”. Surely a moment they will never forget, on a night they will cherish forever.
Our MVP was Hunter Hazen as he seems to be playing better and better every game.
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