The mixed emotions expressed by their female counterparts were assuredly not shared by Hoquiam’s boys.
Blanking Rainier from the field for the opening 10 1/2 minutes, the Grizzlies remained unbeaten in Evergreen 1A League play with a 52-28 victory in the second half of a basketball coed doubleheader Tuesday night at Hoquiam Square Garden.
Earlier, the HHS girls nearly squandered a 13-point lead but hung on for a 43-41 triumph that Hoquiam coach Mark Maxfield said felt like a loss.
Hoquiam’s boys won their eighth straight and improved to 7-0 in league and 10-5 overall. The Grizzly girls are now 4-3 in league and 7-8 for the season.
Grizzlies 52, Mountaineers 28
Hoquiam quickly settled a showdown against a Rainier club (5-3, 6-10) that had unobtrusively entered the contest tied for second in the league.
Playing a smothering man-to-man defense virtually throughout, the Grizzlies didn’t allow a basket until the 5:34 mark of the second quarter. Rainier missed its opening 14 shots and committed five of its 23 turnovers in the first quarter.
Although having difficulties finding openings of their own in the half-court offense, the Grizzlies used their athleticism in the open court to blast out to a 15-1 lead after one quarter and a 19-1 advantage early in the second period.
Freshman Jerod Steen had six points during that span, while senior guard Evan Newton sandwiched a trio of buckets around a couple of assists.
Steen led Hoquiam’s balanced attack with 13 points, while Newton added 10.
Winning coach Curtis Eccles, however, gave much of the credit to senior guard Devin Kelly, who drew the primary defensive assignment on Rainier ace Zack Froembling. After scoring 23 points against the Grizzlies in a two-point loss at Rainier earlier in the campaign, Froembling was limited to five in this contest.
“That was his job, to stick on (Froembling),” Eccles said of Kelly. “I thought he did a great job.”
Newton’s 3-point basket gave the Grizzlies a 24-5 bulge late in the first half. It was 24-9 at intermission and the Grizzlies enjoyed at least a 20-point advantage for the bulk of the second half.
The speedy Newton also handed contributed seven assists and four steals. Steen also had four steals, while senior post Blake Kelly finished with seven rebounds, three steals and four blocked shots.
Freshman Jace Varner shared HHS rebounding honors with seven. Senior Jake Oliver came off the bench to fire in eight points for the Grizzlies.
Six-foot-four center Colby Coker, who scored all but one of Rainier’s first-half points, wound up with 10 for the Mountaineers.
Grizzlies 43, Mountaineers 41
Brandi Creviston’s early long-range assault gave Hoquiam’s girls barely enough cushion to survive a Rainier rally.
Creviston scored eight points in the opening three minutes on a four-point play (fouled on a successful 3-point attempt, she hit the ensuing free throw), 3-point basket and one of two free throws. Although she failed to make a 2-point basket during the game, she nevertheless led all scorers with 17 points.
That helped stake the Grizzlies to leads of 25-12 midway through the second quarter and 28-17, on Creviston’s final three-ball, early in the third quarter.
Hoquiam, however, struggled mightily on the offensive end for most of a sloppily-played second half. Rainier rallied to within striking distance in the fourth quarter but missed several opportunities to tighten the screws by repeatedly failing to force entry passes into the post.
Ellie Quercia’s short jumper gave Hoquiam a seemingly insurmountable 41-34 lead with 1:27 remaining. Following a free throws by Rainier’s Peyton Dungan, the Mounties quickly converted HHS turnovers into layins by Morgan Spivey and Ashley Honaker that suddenly trimmed the margin to two with 41 seconds on the clock.
Beating the Rainier press on the next possession, Quercia missed a layup but claimed the rebound and was fouled. Her two free throws extended the lead to 43-39 with 23 seconds on the clock.
After Rainier’s Aryn Thomas answered with a putback at 0:08, Hoquiam threw away the inbound pass. With the opportunity to tie or win, however, the Mountaineers committed their 29th turnover of the contest and the Grizzlies ran out the clock.
“Today, we played like we practiced yesterday — very lackluster, no energy,” Maxfield summarized. “Our girls have to play with fire all the time to do well. I knew (they didn’t have it) during warm-ups.”
Quercia finished with 10 points and five steals. Mikaila Johnson led HHS rebounders with seven, with Kylie Stewart came off the bench to swipe four steals.
Hoquiam’s McKell Sansaver was also cited for reserve play.
Honaker topped Rainier with 12 points.
Both Grizzly teams make the long trek to Forks on Friday.
Rainier 7 10 6 18 — 41
Hoquiam 16 9 7 11 — 43
Rainier (41) — Honaker 12, Thomas 4, Ivy, Spivey 6, Dungan 10, Justice 2, Schaff 4, Haley 3. FG — 17-39 (.436). FT — 6-11.
Hoquiam (43) — Quercia 10, Rose, Creviston 17, Johnson 6, Doyle 1, Stewart 7, Kramer, Parker, Hilliard, Sansaver 2. FG — 15-52 (.288). FT — 9-16.
JV — Hoquiam 34, Rainier 33. Casey Mode 16 points for Hoquiam.
Rainier 1 8 12 7 — 28
Hoquiam 15 9 17 11 — 52
Rainier (28) — Froembling 5, Miller 2, Shaw 2, Coker 10, Dragt, Eygabroad 3, Bichler 4, Rush 2, Carlson, Adamski. FG — 10-49 (.204). FT — 6-11.
Hoquiam (52) — B. Kelly 6, Newton 10, D. Kelly 4, Steen 13, Brydon 2, Oliver 8, White, Adams 2, Varner 5, Standstipher 2, Anderson. FG — 21-56 (.375). FT — 7-11.