ROCHESTER – An early 3-point barrage supplied enough power for Mossyrock to hold off multiple late Willapa Valley charges.
Canning four 3-pointers in the game’s first six minutes, Mossyrock opened a 12-point first quarter lead and held on late to end Valley’s season, 60-50, in a District IV Boys B Tournament game Friday at Rochester High School.
Valley ended its season with a record of 16-7.
Assured of a regional berth, Mossyrock faces North Beach this afternoon in consolation bracket semifinal.
In the battle of the Vikings, the Lewis County club dialed long-distance early with repeated success against a Valley zone defense.
Customarily a man-to-man outfit, Valley coach John Peterson ordered his charges to open in a 2-3 defense. It was a decision Peterson would rue later.
Junior guard Kyler Hazen nailed a pair of treys and freshman swingman Jaron Kersley slashed his way to a pair of buckets 10-0 run that blew a 10-8 game into a 20-8 game.
“I screwed it up,” Petersoon reflected afterward.
“I’m a big believer in taking away a team’s strength. They (Mossyrock) really liked to hit the glass, so I thought a zone was the way to go, even though we’re a good man-to-man team. So of course, they go out and hit every three they take.”
Peterson’s estimation was off – though the Vikings did still manage a stellar 50 percent (7 of 14) from behind the arc.
Trailing by 10 at halftime, Valley put together one of multiple runs at the lead in the opening minutes of the third quarter.
The Pacific County squad opened the third quarter with full-court pressure on the Mossyrock ball-handlers and used the defensive adjustment to score eightof the first nine points of the period, trimming the deficit to 35-32 with 4:57 left in the third.
Mossyrock responded with 7 quick points – four more from Kersley and another three, this time from Lucas Allen to push its lead back to 10, two minutes later.
Five Valley points in the final minutes of the frame made it a 45-40 game entering the fourth.
The Pacific County club kept on the pressure in the fourth quarter and a pair of free throws from Stephen Camenzind and a jumper from Randy Heckard got Valley within one, 45-44 with 5:12 left in the game.
That was as close as the Menlo school could get.
Senior guard Ryley Stanley drained the first of two fourth quarter 3-pointers to push the Mossyrock lead back to four.
Valley would get back within two, 50-48 after a free throw from David Rockett, but Stanley’s second 3-pointer, again from the left wing, stemmed the Valley run.
Anthony Sagen’s jumper with 1:30 left put Valley within three, 53-50, but Mossyrock would go on to score the game’s final seven points.
Kersley iced the game with five free throws in the final 38.4 seconds.
Despite sitting nearly six minutes in the fourth quarter because of foul trouble, Kersley paced all scorers with 21 points – included a sparkling 11-of-12 from the charity stripe. Mossyrock was aided by the bench contribution of Allen. A two-point per game scorer in the regular season, Allen added 13 points.
Rockett led Valley with 11 points; junior guard Sagen added 10 points in defeat.
Mossyrock limited Valley ace Matt Kongisberger to six points, seven less than his season average.
Peterson was effusive with praise of his troops.
“I’m an old guy, been doing this for a while, and when I was young this loss would make me mad,” he said. “But now it’s easier to find silver linings, and I can see how great it is to be surrounded with kids with such heart and that play so hard. I’m pretty proud to be associated with these guys.”
Peterson singled out his seniors — Steven Ochman, Zack Friese and Rockett — afterward for effort and leadership throughout the season.
WV 8 16 16 10 — 50
Mos 20 14 11 15 — 60
Willapa Valley (50) – Sagen 10, Konigsberger 6, Buchanan 6, Friese 2, Rockett 11, Camenzind 6, Heckard 4, Pearson 5. FG – 20-46 (.435). FT – 9-12.
Mossyrock (60) – Stanley 6, Hazen 11, Kirkley 21, Watson 5, Stephens 4, Allen 13, Butler. FG – 20-47 (.426). FT – 13-16.