Two comebacks proved to be the Choker men’s limit on Wednesday night.
After twice overcoming significant deficits, Grays Harbor was unable to answer a closing Centralia College surge in falling to the Trailblazers, 88-79, in an NWAACC Western Division men’s basketball game at Sam Benn Gym.
Centralia never trailed in taking the women’s contest, 82-60.
MEN Blazers 88, Chokers 79
This was an uphill struggle for Grays Harbor for most of the night.
With Marced Farley tallying 25 points in the first half, the Trailblazers (4-7, 4-15) opened up a 16-point lead, 42-26, four minutes prior to intermission.
Picking up the defensive intensity in their 2-3 zone, the Chokers (4-6, 7-13) held the visitors scoreless for the next eight minutes and nosed in front, 45-44, on a Jordan Dutton 3-point basket at the 14:36 mark of the second half.
The Blazers, however, regrouped behind the scoring of Calvin Edwards and regained a 67-57 advantage with 6:23 remaining.
The Chokers again responded — this time with freshman guard K.C. Harrison providing the spark. Harrison reeled off 10 points (and Bryan Irion the other three) in a 13-0 run that produced a 70-67 advantage with four minutes left.
Farley, who had been held scoreless in the second half until then, reappeared to lead Centralia’s counterattack. The 6-foot-3 wing from California accounted for two baskets and a pair of free throws in a burst of 11 successive points that produced a 78-70 Blazer lead with 1:58 remaining.
The Chokers closed to within three, 78-75, on Cameron Ladson’s driving lay-in with 1:20 on the clock, but the Blazers pulled away from the foul line.
Late turnovers, an issue in most of GHC’s losses, were again critical last night. Centralia also owned the boards for most of the contest.
“There were two turnovers on set plays that we ran, executed, but just made bad passes,” Grays Harbor coach Jordan Altman grimly summarized.
“We never should have been in that position,” Altman added. “I felt we were the superior team going into the game. We didn’t show up to play.”
Farley and Edwards combined for 62 points to lead the winners. The former led all scorers with 35, while Edwards tallied 23 of his 27 in the second half.
Harrison performed brilliantly in a losing cause, scoring 23 of his 28 points in the second half. Choker ace Bryan McGriff, in contrast, had 21 of his 26 in the first half.
Irion and Ladson provided considerable defensive energy for the Chokers.
WOMEN Blazers 82, Chokers 59
A first-half Grays Harbor drought sucked most of the suspense out of this contest early.
The Chokers (1-9, 3-16) began well enough, trailing 6-5 in the opening three minutes. They failed to make another field goal, however, until the 8:38 mark as the Blazers settled matters with a 20-1 run.
Centralia’s Karina Gee canned three 3-pointers during that spurt, while the Blazers also executed several pick-and-rolls to take the ball to the hoop.
Grays Harbor never came closer than 15 the rest of the way.
While not particularly happy with allowing 82 points, Choker coach Christine Nelson put much of the blame on ongoing shooting woes.
“We can’t seem to score,” Nelson said. “The shots aren’t dropping.”
The Chokers shot 24 percent from the field in the first half — and needed a late surge to reach that figure. They finished with a .358 shooting percentage.
Reserve guard Amber Fifield was the shining exception to GHC’s offensive difficulties. She hit 7 of her 10 field goal attempts — including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc — in topping all scorers with 22 points.
Paulette Robles and Marlee Chovich were the other Choker in double figures with 11 points apiece. The Chokers suited up only eight players.
Gee popped in 19 points and Courtney Kaupu, a native of Hawaii, had 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Elma High graduates Megan Finger and Miranda McDonald saw extensive minutes off the bench. Finger had seven points and McDonald four.
Both Grays Harbor teams will travel to Highline on Saturday for an early-afternoon doubleheader. The women’s game begins at 1 p.m., with the men to follow.
Centralia (82) — Gee 19, Fisher 7, Preuninger 5, McIntyre 8, Davis 6, McDonald 4, Myers 9, Finger 7, DeVore 3, Kaupu 14. FG — 30-63 (.476). FT — 14-17.
Grays Harbor (59) — Maneman 2, Chovich 11, Koe, Fifield 22, Stewart 2, Russell 9, Cox 2, Robles 11. FG — 19-53 (.358). FT — 15-28.
Halftime: Centralia 42, Grays Harbor 19.
Centralia (88) — Rogers 10, Edwards 27, Boussard 4, Farley 35, Dumetz 4, Scott 7, Malone 1.
Grays Harbor (79) — Harrison 28, Ladson 8, Irion 7, Straghter 1, McGriff 26, Dutton 6, Porter 1, Larkins, Kolokihakausfisi 2, Harrod.
Halftime: Centralia 42, Grays Harbor 36.