WF West 71, Tumwater 57
Tumwater 11 20 36 57
WF West 12 26 44 71
(Chehalis, WA) Friday night’s showdown between the Tumwater Thunderbirds and WF West Bearcats was more than just a rivalry game. It was for the top spot in the Evergreen 2A conference with just over one week left in the regular season. Whoever walked away with the win would control their own destiny and only needed to win their games to be league champion. For Tumwater, that is a familiar feeling as the T-Birds won the last three league titles. For WF West, it would be a chance to win their first league title since 2018.
Both sides got off to slow starts offensively in the opening quarter. After the first meeting between the two finished with a final score of 54-40 in favor of Tumwater, this one felt like it would be another low scoring, defensive battle. Grady Westlund was all over the boards for WF West in the first half to build the Bearcats a solid lead. However, a buzzer beating putback by Sahara Anthony III closed the gap to just one as WF West led after a quarter of play, 12-11.
Tumwater continued their run into the 2nd quarter and actually took the lead. Jake Dillon and Sahara Anthony each splashed in a three but WF West had an immediate response. Weston Potter and Lucas Hoff responded with threes of their own to give the Bearcats back the lead. Hoff was a solid scorer for WF West in the first half as he attacked the basket off transitions, but it would be Gage Brumfield who began to get going in the 2nd. The junior’s athleticism allowed him to beat defenders and get in the paint where he either finished his shot or went to the line for free throws. The paint play was the difference in the first half as WF West held a 26-20 lead at the midway point.
After ballooning their lead up to 10, WF West just answered every Tumwater basket with one of their own. As Clay Morgan got going for the T-Birds, so did Parker Eiswald for the Bearcats. Once WF West had taken complete control of the paint, things began to open up around the perimeter. That opened the door for Tyler Klatush to steal the spotlight as he began to hit three after three. There was just too much scoring depth for WF West as they opened their lead until Sahara Anthony dragged Tumwater back into the game. A late surge for the T-Birds set up an intriguing 4th quarter as WF West had a 44-36 advantage.
In the final quarter, it was just basket trading once again. Tumwater could not cut into the deficit because every time they scored, WF West immediately answered to widen their lead. Even when Tumwater’s post Henry Wilson hit a three, the Bearcats responded as Gage Brumfield answered back. It came down to free throws for WF West and the Bearcats went 20-30 from the charity stripe which was enough to put down the Tumwater comeback. WF West would hang on for the 71-57 win to give the Bearcats control of their own destiny and the inside track to take home the EvCo 2A league title.
Our Thorbeckes MVP of the game was Gage Brumfield of WF West. Normally not a player to completely take over a game, Brumfield was feeling confident no matter where he was at on the floor. A three-ball was just the tip of the iceberg for Brumfield as he made a living off of attacking the basket and either getting fouled or using his athleticism to finish some tricky shots. The junior also did a tremendous job on defense and had a couple of really heads up plays to keep a lose ball alive and get the Bearcats an extra possession. While many players were streaky in this game, Gage Brumfield was Mr. Consistency in leading the Bearcats to a massive home win.
Gage Brumfield and Tyler Klatush tied for a team-high in points for WF West with each scoring 17. Parker Eiswald and Lucas Hoff each tallied 12 while Grady Westlund had eight and Weston Potter scored five.
For Tumwater, it would be Sahara Anthony III scoring a game-high 20 points for Tumwater while Clay Morgan added 15 and Jake Dillon also scored double figures with 10. Henry Wilson tallied five points while Bryce Morgan, Nolan Campbell, and Beckett Wall all scored two and Reis Howell scored one.
WF West moves to 10-5 and 7-1 in league play and will enjoy a weekend off before starting a three-game week on Monday at home against Rochester. Tumwater drops to 11-7 and 8-2 in EvCo 2A play and will not have any time to recover as they host Rochester on Saturday at 7pm.
Strong Bearcat Passing
BHG Takin’ it to the House Play of the Game
Morgan Hits Off-Balance Shot