Most of the successful Twin Harbors basketball teams this season— such as Hoquiam’s and Raymond’s boys and Elma’s girls — were highly regarded in preseason forecasts.
The area’s biggest surprise may be Raymond’s girls. After dropping their season opener to Napavine, the Seagulls have won 15 straight and are ranked fifth among state Class 2B teams. Their closest margin of victory during that streak has been seven points.
They’ve also taken control of a Pacific League race that shaped up as a tight three-way battle with Willapa Valley and South Bend.
One secret of Raymond’s success has clearly been its defense. The Gulls have allowed more than 40 points on only three occasions and never more than 45.
Regarded prior to the season as primarily an inside-oriented team, the Gulls have demonstrated surprising scoring punch from the perimeter.
While senior Abby Maneman has been Raymond’s most versatile performer, second-year head coach Jon Schray said his club has bought into the team concept.
“We discussed all of the players’ roles on the team at the start of the season and asked them if they were willing to accept and excel in their role, whether it was the No. 1 option of offense or to primarily be a practice player,” Schray said. “Each girl has worked very hard to improve the team from their own role, leaving jealousy and pride at the door so the team can succeed.”
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300 Wins: It wasn’t quite a homecoming, but for Willapa Valley’s veteran head boys basketball coach John Peterson, it felt a bit like that on Thursday night.
Peterson saw his players take over their Pacific League boys basketball game against North Beach at the “House of Pain” in Oyehut in the second half. From there, Peterson enjoyed the ride to his 300th career head boys basketball coaching victory in the Vikings’ 62-45 victory.
The coach, who is also the athletic director and former head football coach, noted that he walked onto his alma mater more than 20 years ago with a losing record (32-71) after coaching in the Skagit Valley (Concrete) and has been blessed with a steady stream of great players at the small Menlo school.
Peterson’s teaching and coaching career began at North Beach in the early 1990s, a one-year stay before he left for Concrete.
“I’ve only been a boys basketball coach for 21 seasons; this is my 21st season as a boys coach,” Peterson said. “I feel really, really blessed to be coaching this long and really blessed to coach the kids that I’ve coached.
“This was a nice evening,” Peterson said. “I told the kids that North Beach has a special place in my heart. They gave me my first chance. They hired me when I couldn’t get a job anywhere. Ed Garity was my first boss and I’m close with him. I’m close with (long-time assistant coach) Bob Sutter and I’ve known Larry Moore for a long time and coached against him for a long time. Rich Brannan, the guy who runs the clock, I taught with him. I still have a lot of close friends here and this was a pretty special night for me.”
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Stats and Figures: Lost in Thursday night’s Willapa Valley-North Beach contest was a statl ine that will make Peterson happy. The Vikings finished with 18 assists on the night, 17 of them came from three players. Leading scorer Stephen Camenzind dished out a team-high seven assists, four of them on inbound plays. David Rockett added six assists to his totals and Matt Konigsberger finished with four assists. … Friday night’s boys game between Hoquiam and Forks, won by the Spartans, 29-20, was a sight to behold in more ways than one. Not only did both teams play at a normal tempo, they ran their offenses and adjusted to what the other was doing for shots. But at the point of attack for the shot, whether it was inside the congested paint or outside on the perimeter, every shot was contested or every ball was slapped away for a turnover. There were no easy baskets to be had. The teams finished with 50 turnovers combined, a benchmark for two pressure defensive units. Hoquiam was 0-for-12 behind the 3-point arc, a spot that has helped it open up the interior for its two big post players — Cole Smith and Alex Boulden. Hitting just one or two of those long-range bombs would have moved Forks out of its 2-3 zone that contained the interior and dared the perimeter shooters to fire away. The only 3-pointer converted came from Forks’ Colton Raben, an NBA-distance shot from the top of the key that hit nothing but net. The Spartans followed that conversion with a 0-for-7 clip for the rest of the night…Hoquiam’s girls victory over Aberdeen on Thursday — the first by the Grizzlies over their trans-Myrtle Street rivals since 2006 — was largely attributable to improved ball-handling. While the Grizzlies committed 25 turnovers, they also frequently beat the Bobcat press for easy conversions and few of their miscues led directly to Aberdeen baskets. Sophomore point guard Ellie Quercia and versatile Chelsy Stewart did most of the ball-handling in pressure situations.