Chokers fend off late surge to top Red Devils, 65-54

A balanced attack and depth on defense proved to be a winning formula for the Grays Harbor College men.

The Chokers forced 21 turnovers and held Lower Columbia College to 25 percent shooting in the second half to secure a 65-54 victory in NWAACC Western Division play Saturday night at Sam Benn Gym.

After the 10-minute mark in the second half, Lower Columbia (0-2 in division, 2-9 overall) put together a 13-4 run that gave the Red Devils their first lead of the game at 50-47 with just under six minutes left to play. Sophomore forward Ryan Rogers led Lower Columbia with seven points during that stretch. Rogers finished with 15, which tied him with his teammate, Wyatt Parker, for the most in the game.

A slick spin move and a low post bucket by Arthur Erholm brought the Chokers back within one point of the Red Devils, and two free throws by Nolan Wyatt put Grays Harbor back up 51-50.

Grays Harbor (1-1, 3-8) held Lower Columbia scoreless for more than four minutes, and with 1:19 left to play, completed an 11-0 run that produced a 58-50 lead. During that stretch, Erholm and Wyatt each scored four points and Dar’ijon Eubanks drilled a 3-pointer. Wyatt led Grays Harbor with 14 points in the game.

“We’ve been struggling all year with putting ourselves in position to score, and just not knocking down the shot,” said Grays Harbor head coach Jordan Altman. “When you make shots, it’s a lot easier to get back and play defense, too. We finally stepped up and made the shots that we’ve been getting for a long time.”

Despite only playing 19 minutes, Erholm had a big impact near the end of the game, scoring eight of his 13 points in the final eight minutes.

“The scoring was very balanced, and a big difference was the guys coming off the bench, and not having a let-down on the defensive end,” Altman said. “That was the number-one difference. I was able to go to the bench and still know that the defense would be strong.”

Nine different Grays Harbor players saw significant minutes, and four players scored in double figures. Grays Harbor will host Tacoma on Monday night.

Lower Columbia (54) — Yadao 2, Jiranek, Roffler 7, Parker 15, Bossio 2, Niu, Rogers 15, Konig 5, Trotter 8, Basmergen. FG – 19/55 (.345). FT — 10/16

Grays Harbor (65) — Hunt, Bowman 2, Eubenks 5, Alvord 10, Richters 2, Harrod 1, Harris 6, Smith 12, Wyatt 14, Erholm 13. FG — 24/56 (.429). FT — 14/21.

Halftime: Grays Harbor 34, Lower Columbia 31.