With varying degrees of difficulty, Hoquiam basketball teams defended their home court in Evergreen 1A League openers on Friday.
Holding Rainier without a field goal for the game’s first 17 1/2 minutes, the Grizzly boys crushed the Mountaineers, 58-19, in the first half of the co-ed doubleheader at Hoquiam Square Garden.
The HHS girls withstood a second-half Mountaineer comeback for a 58-52 win in the nightcap.
Despite the victories, neither game is likely to be featured prominently in any season-ending HHS highlight reel. The boys were guilty of 24 turnovers, but forced Rainier into 37.
The girls survived 13 second-half turnovers and abysmal foul shooting in the fourth quarter to stave off a Mountie rally.
BOYS Grizzlies 58, Mountaineers 19
Cole Smith scored 18 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked four shots to highlight this lopsided triumph.
Hoquiam’s best moments came during the opening three minutes, as the Grizzlies scored on five of their six possessions.
Ronnie Espedal buried a 3-point shot from the right wing to open the scoring. After swatting away a shot on Rainier’s opening possession, Smith drove for a layin and fed Jaycob Guined for another layup to give the Grizzlies a quick 7-0 advantage.
Baskets by Espedal and Smith made it 11-0 with the game only 2:44 old.
After making its first five shots, Hoquiam mustered only two field goals over the next six minutes as the contest turned more than a little sloppy. But uncorking wild passes on nearly every trip downcourt, Rainier didn’t score until Austin Dragt’s free throw with 1:01 remaining in the first quarter and didn’t connect from the field until the 6:35 mark of the third period. By that time, the Grizzlies were in front, 27-7. Rainier finished with only five field goals.
Hoquiam wound up shooting only 39 percent from the field
“We really rushed our shots and we didn’t really have to,” HHS coach Curtis Eccles observed. “We started off being patient and and then kind of got away from that.”
Coming off the bench after battling illness for much of the week, sophomore guard Evan Newton added 12 points and five steals. Devin Kelly, another reserve, also plucked five steals. Cody Parker grabbed seven rebounds.
Tristan Evans scored eight points for Rainier
GIRLS Grizzlies 58, Mountaineers 52
For a time, Hoquiam’s girls appeared destined for an equally one-sided triumph.
Using a zone defense to keep Rainier firing almost exclusively from the perimeter, the Grizzlies led 29-11 late in the first half and 30-14 at intermission.
The Mountaineers, however, picked up their defensive intensity and started drawing fouls by the bushel in a game that contained 76 free throws.
Although also going to the line frequently, the Grizzlies (1-0, 5-1) were unable to convert. They missed eight of their first nine free throws in the fourth quarter to let the visitors creep back into contention.
The Mounties closed to within six, 55-49, when Kelli Brown made two foul shots with 1:20 remaining in the contest. Hoquiam’s Ellie Quercia made one of two from the stripe in the final minute, but Rainier’s Riley Mortlock connected from downtown to make it 56-52 with 24 seconds left.
Hoquiam’s Brandi Creviston, fouled with 18 seconds on the clock, made both her free throws to close out the scoring.
“The second half we lost our identity and didn’t have the energy,” Hoquiam coach Chad Allan said. “We were playing rushed basketball, like we were behind. The effort we gave in the second half was unacceptable by our standard.”
Chelsy Stewart, taking the ball to the basket with her usual authority in the first half, led the winners with 18 points. Creviston put down a pair of three-balls in adding 13 points.
Quercia and reserve Tiffani Dhooghe (who was celebrating her 18th birthday) were cited by Allan for their floor games.
Kelsey Eygabroad topped Rainier with 18 points.
Both Grizzly teams journey to Forks on Tuesday.
Rain 1 2 10 6 — 19 Hoq 13 14 14 17 — 58
Rainier (19) — Froembling, Dragt 2, Bell, Evans 8, Eygabroad 3, McCann, Miller 2, Shaw 4, Carlson. FG — 5-28 (.179). FT — 8-14.
Hoquiam (58) — Sandstrom 2, Parker 4, Smith 18, Espedal 8, Guined 2, Lorton 4, Newton 12, Kelly 4, Boulden 2, Brydon 2. FG — 24-62 (.387). FT — 6-8.
JV — Hoquiam 50, Rainier 40. Blake Kelly cited for fine play.
Rain 9 5 22 16 — 52 Hoq 14 16 16 12 — 58
Rainier (52) — Mortlock 14, Thomas 6, Turcott 2, Kelsey Eygabroad 18, Honaker 5, Naumann, Brown 7, Kayla Eygabroad, Dungan. FG — 15-56 (.268). FT — 18-36.
Hoquiam (58) — Quercia 10, Creviston 13, Stewart 18, Doyle 3, Madison 2, Mode, Rose 7, Dhooghe 1, Johnson 2, Bradley 2. FG — 18-46 (.391). FT — 20-40.
JV — Hoquiam 45, Rainier 37.