With Addam Follett providing the O, Aberdeen’s league-leading D helped produce a huge W.
Follett equaled his career high with 29 points as the Bobcats upended Evergreen 2A Conference boys basketball co-leader Chehalis, 49-46, Thursday night at Sam Benn Gym.
Junior guard Follett took nearly four minutes to score his first basket but was blazing after that. Consistently able to beat the taller but slower Bearcats on drives and occasionally shaking free for transition lay-ins, he tallied 16 points in the second quarter alone.
“I just needed to settle down, play my game and get into a rhythm,” he said.
Follett, however, was quick to give much of the credit to his team’s defense. Although they’ve struggled on the offensive end for much of the season, the Bobcats (3-6, 7-9) entered the game leading the conference in fewest points allowed.
It can be argued, in fact, that the key number Thursday was 4. That’s the number of points the Bearcats (6-3 in league) scored in the fourth quarter.
Chehalis was able to do damage on lobs inside, particularly in the first half, to senior standout Tanner Gueller. The brawny, athletic son of Montesano High graduate Jason Gueller and Hoquiam alum Carrie Thompson Gueller, finished with 22 points, most of them from close range.
Playing man-to-man most of the way, the quicker Bobcats were able to force 21 turnovers while 6-foot-3 senior Lorenzo Ontiveros and 6-6 sophomore reserve Chandler Craig helped take away the lob in the fourth quarter. Ontiveros grabbed nine rebounds and Craig six boards in limited action as the Bobcats held their own on the glass.
“We’ve played defense like that all year,” AHS coach Leonard Barnes noted. “Tonight, we were able to finish.”
The Cats did so despite scoring only seven points of their own in the fourth quarter.
Craig’s rebound basket opening the final period snapped a 42-all standoff and put Aberdeen ahead to stay. Follett turned a Bearcat turnover into a lay-in at the other end, Craig made one of two free throws and Follett received a favorable bounce on a jumper from inside the key to widen the lead to 49-42 with 2:07 remaining.
Committing six turnovers in the fourth quarter, the Bearcats didn’t score in that stanza until the final 1:54. They still made things interesting at the end.
Gueller’s basket finally broke the drought. After a missed AHS foul shot (the Bobcats failed to connect on their final three free throws), the Bearcat ace muscled in a lay-up after taking a pass from Nathan Sherfey with 50 seconds on the clock.
The Bobcats missed from the outside as the 35-second shot clock was about to expire, but Ontiveros’ offensive rebound enabled them to maintain possession. That forced the Bearcats to foul.
Follett misfired on the front end of a one-and-one with five seconds left. With a foul to give, Aberdeen took it with 2.4 seconds on the clock and Bryan Moon’s perimeter jumper (which might have been launched from inside the 3-point arc) came off the rim as time expired.
Although the Bobcats had played Chehalis tough in their first meeting (leading after three quarters in a game they eventually lost, 66-57), their upset prospects seemed remote at the outset.
They missed their opening eight shots and committed five turnovers in the first quarter as Chehalis rolled to a 12-4 lead.
Acknowledging that the team was nervous in facing the league co-leader, Follett credited a timeout Barnes called midway through the quarter with helping to get the Bobcats back on an even keel.
Follett’s 3-point basket midway through the second quarter gave Aberdeen its first lead of the night at 15-14. The middle two quarters featured six ties and nine lead changes.
Ontiveros scored seven of his nine points in the third quarter. Teammate Austin Floch collected six steals.
Payton Campbell and Jacob Black were credited with strong defense. Seeing additional minutes when starting point guard Cole Edwards aggravated an ankle injury, Campbell helped hold Sherfey scoreless in the second half.
The Bobcats are back in action tonight, with a non-leaguer at home against Spanaway Lake.
Chehalis 12 14 16 4 — 46
Aberdeen 6 20 16 7 — 49
Chehalis (46) — Gueller 22, Cox 2, Moon 11, Schwarz 2, Sherfey 7, Hawkins, McKay 2. FG — 21-46 (.457). FT — 3-8.
Aberdeen (49) — Edwards, Follett 29, Schlesser, Ontiveros 9, Floch, Campbell 2, Black 6, Taylor, Craig 3. FG — 19-55 (.345). FT — 9-13.
JV — Aberdeen 73, Elma 59. Victor Gomez 23 points; Josh Collett 13 for Aberdeen.
C Squad — Aberdeen 39, Chehalis 26. Miles Devine 13 points for Aberdeen.