Rainier        10   10    9     8   37
Napavine    16     8   16   18  58

(Napavine, WA) Central 2B’s girls basketball is some of the very best in the state this season. Three of the top five teams in the RPI reside in the league with two of them battling it out on Tuesday night as the undefeated Rainier Mountaineers traveled to take on the Napavine Tigers. In what could very well be a state championship game preview, Rainier had the opportunity to take control of the Central 2B League while the lingering taste of a semifinal defeat last season has added fuel to the fire for Napavine this season.

Neither side came out of the gate firing on all cylinders. Both teams are extremely fundamentally sound on defense and that was on display for the first couple of minutes of this game. Napavine would strike first as Hayden Kaut knocked down a three and the Tigers scored the first five points of the game. Rainier then found a groove with Brooklynn Swenson scoring five quick points as the Mountaineers went on a 7-0 run to take the lead. Napavine would respond with five more unanswered and thanks to some threes from Kaut and Taylen Evander built their lead up to 16-10 after a quarter of play.

Napavine cooled down quite a bit in the 2nd quarter. Rainier began to find a groove on the defensive end of the floor but continued to struggle shooting the basketball which is very uncharacteristic of this team. Swenson was the lifeblood of the Mountaineers as she put up 12 points in the first half and a three for Angelica Askey as well as a three-point play for Askey helped Rainier win the 2nd quarter 10-8 but the Mountaineers still found themselves in a hole at halftime, trailing 24-20.

Everything that was going right for Rainier in the 2nd quarter went wrong for the Mountaineers in the second half. The story of the 3rd quarter was offensive rebounding for Napavine. The Tigers got multiple opportunities on every offensive possession as their full court press limited Rainier’s opportunities and also created some easy fastbreak points for the Tigers. The duo of Hayden Kaut and Keira O’Neill took over the game for Napavine as they dominated in the paint on offense and defense while the rest of the Tigers locked down Rainier with the press. A missed three from Kaut bounced off the rim right to Dakota Hamilton who knocked down a jumper just before the buzzer to end the quarter as the Tigers took their lead to double digits entering the 4th with a 40-29 lead.

Too many turnovers plagued Rainier and killed any hopes of a comeback in the final eight minutes. Napavine’s pressure was just overwhelming and with Rainier’s off night shooting the basketball, the Tigers just continued to pull away with the game. Takeaways, offensive rebounding, and points in transition were all dominated statistically by Napavine as the Tigers pulled away in the 4th to hand Rainier their first loss of the season, 58-37.

Our Thorbeckes MVP of the game was Napavine’s standout sophomore, Hayden Kaut. Kaut was tremendous on both ends of the floor, using her height and long wingspan on defense to create issues for Rainier’s offense all game long. She was even better offensively for the Tigers, scoring a game-high 26 points for Napavine. It was a statement making win for the Tigers and the sophomore star showed up in a big way with the entire state watching the 2B battle.

Keira O’Neill also had a big night for the Tigers, scoring 16 points to go along with 14 rebounds for her double-double. Taylen Evander added 11 points, while Grace Gall scored three and Dakota Hamilton rounded out the Napavine scoring with two.

For the Rainier Mountaineers, they were led by Brooklynn Swenson who scored 19 points with nine of them coming from behind the arc. Angelica Askey scored in double figures with 10 points as well. Haileigh Hanson added six while Janess Blackburn had two.

The massive win moves the Napavine Tigers to 14-1 and 7-0 in C2BL play. Things don’t get any easier for the Lady Tigers as they will travel to Adna on Thursday at 7pm for a rivalry matchup with the 13-1 Pirates. Rainier drops to 13-1 with the loss and 6-1 in league play but can and will take a lot away from their first loss of the season. The Mountaineers will also have a tough game on Thursday night at 7pm when they host the Toutle Lake Ducks.

For more on the game check out the ESN postgame show below with our video highlights. To watch the full game replay, you can do so on the following link to the NFHS Network. (Subscription service) Watch full game replay on this link

ESN Post Game Show

Swenson Knocks Down Another Three

BHG Takin’ it to the House Play of the Game

Tigers Pull Away






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