SPOKANE — In a game of runs and surges, Taholah was one comeback short of a victory.
Outscored 21-3 in the fourth quarter, the Chitwhins were dropped in to the consolation bracket Thursday at the state 1B boys basketball tournament at the Spokane Arena after suffering a 69-45 loss to Neah Bay in the final game of the night.
At 2 p.m., Taholah (18-3) will face Soap Lake in a loser-out contest.
“Soap Lake played right before us, but we didn’t get a chance to watch them,” Taholah head coach Greg Stewart said. “We’re going in blind, just like tonight.”
The opening period saw the lead change hands four times as Taholah’s Keanu Curleybear kept the Chitwhins close in the early going. He sank a pair of 3-pointers and finished the quarter with 10 points.
Jimmy Smith-Kramer dropped a three-ball for Taholah with a minute left in the frame for a 16-14 lead, but a tip-in bucket from Neah Bay’s Abraham Venske knotted the score after one.
Smith-Kramer then opened the second quarter with five points in the first minute to push the Chitwhins to a 21-16 edge. Ronnie Tadios-Tahkeal buried a trey two minutes later, and the Chitwhins had opened up a seven-point edge, 24-17. But the Red Devils fired off eight straight points to surge back into the lead, 27-24, with three minutes left in the first half.
K. Curleybear and Tadios-Tahkeal both contributed to Taholah’s next run, a 6-0 burst that put the Chitwhins back in front, 30-27, with 90 seconds left in the first half. But again Neah Bay battled back, taking a 32-30 lead at intermission.
There might have been more points for the Devils when Neah Bay’s Leyton Doherty was grabbed by Tadios-Tahkeal while in the process of launching a 40-foot shot at the end of the half. One official called the play a foul with three potential free throws for Doherty, but after a brief conference, the play became a no-call and the teams headed for the locker room with Neah Bay fans expressing their displeasure.
The Red Devils scored the first nine points of the second half, seven off Chitwhin turnovers, to extend their lead to 41-30 before Taholah called a timeout at the five-minute mark. Joseph Winn scored off a rebound for Taholah at 4:20 to stop Neah Bay’s run, starting another 6-0 Chitwhin burst to cut the deficit to 41-36 in the next two minutes. The Devils still led at the end of the third quarter, 48-42.
But the Devils got a pair of 3-pointers from Tyler McCaulley to open the fourth quarter, while the Chitwhins were committing five turnovers and missing three shots as Neah Bay pushed the lead to 54-42 with five minutes left.
The Chitwhins didn’t score in the final period until Curleybear sank a three-pointer with 59 seconds left.
“We didn’t rebound very well at all, especially in the fourth quarter. Neah Bay doubled us in rebounds (43-24),” Stewart said. “We were giving them two and three shots on every possession. We just played a very poor quarter.”
Keanu Curleybear, who hit three 3-pointers in the contest, led the Chitwhins with 15 points, followed by Tadios-Tahkeal with 13 and Smith-Kramer with 10.
Tah 16 14 12 3 — 45 NB 16 16 16 21 — 69
Taholah (45) — Purdy 2, Smith-Kramer 10, J.Curleybear 3,Tadios-Tahkeal 13, K.Curleybear 15, Winn 2, Jackson, Stewart, Markishtum, Tanner. FG — 18-51 (.353). FT — 0-2.
Neah Bay (69) — Venske 11, J.Greene 6, Z.Green 8, Claplanhoo 2, Doherty 10, Moss 15, McCaulley 13, Reamer 4. FG — 25-58 (.431). FT — 10-18.
Three-Pointers: Taholah 9-23 (K.Curleybear 3, Tadios-Tahkeal 3, Smith-Kramer 2, J.Curleybear). Neah Bay 9-18 (McCaulley 4, Moss 3, Doherty, Z.Greene).
Rebounds: Taholah 24 (J.Curleybear 5), Neah Bay 43 (Venske 8, Z.Greene 8).
Assists: Taholah 9 (Jackson 3), Neah Bay 8 (J.Greene 3).