MONTESANO — A spirited season opener for Montesano turned in its favor against North Beach on an offensive surge keyed by its defense Friday night.
With the Hyaks surging to within two points midway through the third quarter, the Bulldogs’ zone pressure defense ignited a 17-3 run to pull away for a 48-33 non-league girls basketball victory at Bo Griffith Memorial Gym in Montesano.
North Beach’s Mousie Shale led all scorers with 21 points and Montesano’s Megan Choate led her team with 20 points.
“We still miss a fair amount, but we took good shots and out shot selection was really good,” Montesano head coach Julie Graves said. “We moved the ball around much better in the second half against their zone. We started attacking more, but I am happy with the first night. We got some quick steals and we were able to score and get back right on defense.”
“We’re forging a new regime and the girls are learning right along with me,” North Beach head coach Peter Fry said. “We’re exploring our rotation of players and, truthfully, we’re not that deep. After battling them for that long, their zone press got to us and we got a bit sloppy handling it. That and it was one of those dry spells you have in basketball. I can’t fault the girls on their effort. We have kinks to work out.”
Both teams came out firing offensively and forcing turnovers to turn in an entertaining first half. The Bulldogs spread the wealth on offense, getting all five of their starters on the scoreboard to lead 25-19 at halftime. The Hyaks found their scoring touch from freshman guard Shale, who scored 13 of her team’s 19 first-half points.
Montesano came out for the third quarter a bit cold, hitting just 2-for-4 from the free-throw line. North Beach stepped up its offense, including Shale’s under-and-over-her-head field goal to cut the deficit to 27-25 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the frame.
A series of turnovers and missed opportunities followed for both teams before Choate settled the Bulldogs down with a step jumper to end the skid. The field goal was the first of four in a quarter-ending 12-3 push to give the hosts a 39-28 lead. Shale’s 3-point basket inside the final minute was the Hyaks’ lone conversion.
With momentum, Choate opened the fourth quarter with two big shots — a 3-point basket from the wing and a deep 2-point jumper — to close the 17-3 run with 6 1/2 minutes left in the contest. Monte’s zone pressure defense forced 10 turnovers from the Hyaks during the run and solidified their hold on the game.
Montesano’s offense couldn’t keep up the momentum, missing several shots inside and out, but North Beach couldn’t capitalize.
Myranda Floch pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds, with Mackinzie Malizia adding nine boards, for Montesano. Wakeena DeLaCruz seven steals and seven rebounds and Maria Garman cited for her hustle for North Beach.
On Tuesday, Montesano (1-0) stays home to greet Naselle, while North Beach (1-1) stays home to take on Taholah.
NB 10 9 9 5 — 33 Monte 16 9 14 9 — 48
North Beach (33) — DeLaCruz 7, Garman 5, Shale 21, Pinnel, M. Pope, C. Pope, Takagi. FG — 13-53 (.245). FT — 4-15.
Montesano (48) — Choate 20, Floch 7, Malizia 10, Ostwald 4, Nuckols 3, Miller 2, Schurr 2, Kloempken. FG — 20-66 (.303). FT — 6-20.
JV — Montesano 34, North Beach 17.