It is never too early in the season for a 3-point buzzer-beater basket. Just ask Centralia and Hoquiam on Tuesday night.
Tied at 43-43 with 8.8 seconds left, the visiting Tigers saw their first chance at a game-winner blocked, but not the second — a desperation 3-point shot by Payton Cline — with one-tenth of a second left for a dramatic 46-43 win over the Grizzlies at Hoquiam Square Garden.
This non-league girls basketball game had plenty of good and bad for both teams to digest with the vast majority of the season still ahead of them. Both coaches applauded their teams’ efforts and the opposition’s.
“This was a big win,” Centralia head coach Tom Kelly said. “Hoquiam played well, did some good stuff. We weren’t able to run on them. We fell behind several times and the girls kept battling back. We didn’t play that well, but the girls showed that they could keep battling back. We can build on that.”
“That was a fun game to coach, probably more fun for Tom at the end there,” HHS head coach Mark Maxfield added. “I was extremely happy with our effort. I was really impressed with the rebounding, blocking out. Unfortunately, we didn’t take care of the ball in the last few minutes. This was a very good statement, task game for us this early in the season.”
Hoquiam successfully broke Centralia’s full-court pressure defense in the third quarter to power into a 31-27 lead entering the fourth quarter. The hosts eventually held a six-point lead — twice (38-32 and 41-35) — on back-to-back 3-pointers from Brandi Creviston.
Creviston’s second trey with 4:37 left in the contest was the Grizzlies’ final field goal of the game. Ellie Quercia’s two free throws with 3:59 left in the game gave HHS a 43-38 lead.
Hoquiam came out of a timeout in a 1-3-1 zone to keep Centralia occupied at the 3-point line and in the paint. The Tigers responded with Madi Crews’ 3-point conversion from the deep wing with 2:52 left.
Single free throws from Michaela Hall and Crews tied the game for Centralia, which forced Hoquiam into six turnovers in the final 2:32 of the game. Crews only converted 1-of-2 free throws after an intentional foul by Creviston, but it tied the game at 43-all with 54.8 seconds remaining.
Centralia got the ball back, but Crews’ trey misfired. Hoquiam had a chance to take the lead back, but was hurried into a turnover with 12.8 seconds left. The Tigers got to mid-court to call timeout with 8.8 seconds left.
Following the timeout, the Tigers worked a high post pick-and-roll scheme to open up either a 3-point shot or an opportunity down low. Cline tried a 3-pointer, but Quercia blocked it. The ball went back to Cline, who threw up a shot with Quercia tightly defending and splashed the shot with .1 seconds left for the win.
Centralia was unable to run on Hoquiam’s defense, but forced 37 turnovers to keep the Grizzlies from gaining full control of the game. The Tigers, however, were stymied by the Grizzlies’ defense and rebounding, even with two 6-foot-2 post players (Hall and Annmarie Nugent) down low.
According to Kelly, the Tigers had just five offensive rebounds in the game, a nod to the Grizzlies’ defensive efforts.
Creviston led all scorers with 15 points and seven rebounds for HHS (1-2).
Mikaila Johnson scored 10 of her 12 points in the pivotal third quarter and finished with a double-double — 10 rebounds. Quercia had 10 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.
Cline and Crews knocked down 13 points each to lead Centralia.
On Thursday, Hoquiam hits the road to Sam Benn Gym to take on rival Aberdeen.
Centralia 6 17 4 19 — 46
Hoquiam 11 8 12 12 — 43
Centralia (46) — Crews 13, Gilmore, Cline 13, Hall 9, Blaser 4, Pocklington 2, Nugent 5. FG — 16-61 (.263). FT — 9-15.
Hoquiam (43) — Quercia 10, Parker, Rose 4, Creviston 15, Stewart, Johnson 12, Gwinn, Sansaver, Doyle 2, Hilliard. FG — 16-48 (.333). FT — 7-11.
JV — Hoquiam 42, Centralia 6.
C Squad — Hoquiam 42, Centralia 16.