CHEHALIS — Hoquiam needed a fourth-quarter rally and two overtime periods to dispatch Castle Rock. Elma needed help from Toledo and received none.
During Tuesday night’s District IV 1A tournament games, Evergreen 1A rivals Hoquiam and Elma became destined to meet after two vastly different contests at Chehalis High School.
In a loser-out contest, the Grizzlies trailed by 10 after three quarters, forced overtime and settled matters in the second overtime to defeat the Rockets, 71-69.
Following the double-overtime thriller, Elma and reigning state 1A champion Toledo met in a district semifinal game that was controlled by the Indians from the get-go, 66-32.
On Thursday, Hoquiam (16-6) and Elma (12-9) — the top-two teams out of the Evergreen — will meet at in a winner-to-regionals, loser-out game, probably at Centralia.
Grizzlies 71, Rockets 69 (2 OT)
For three quarters, everything went right for Castle Rock and nearly everything went wrong for Hoquiam.
Offensively, the Rockets were firing with pin-point accuracy, especially from the perimeter. The Grizzlies’s long-range shots were off-line and their interior game was haphazard.
This all changed in the fourth quarter, with Castle Rock leading, 46-36.
Freshman guard Jerod Steen drained a 3-pointer to start the quarter and senior forward Devin Kelly converted a driving layup to force a Castle Rock timeout 40 seconds in. For the next 4 1/2 minutes, Hoquiam hit its first run of the game, a 16-5 sprint to take its first lead since the first quarter.
Freshman Jace Varner’s two free throws, gained on a foul after a steal, with 2:53 remaining made it 52-51 Grizzlies. The frame eventually became a 20-10 run for Hoquiam and an alley-oop pass and shoot from junior Evan Newton to freshman Jack Adams III in the final seconds went unanswered to force overtime, 56-56.
“We talked about it at the break — it wasn’t over,” HHS head coach Curtis Eccles said. “It was about runs. We hadn’t had one yet and we knew we could do it. That quick burst was key. Give credit to Brock Johnson; he was tough to stop.”
Through the first three quarters, Castle Rock’s Johnson had a field day from the perimeter, draining eight 3-point baskets — including two in the fourth quarter — to drive his team’s offense. Steen had the unpleasant duty of guarding the senior and contained him in the overtime frames. Johnson finished with a game-high 36 points (and nine treys), but was held in check by Steen to six overtime points.
“I had one assignment — shut him down — and that’s all I tried to do,” Steen said. “I started jumping the screens and he started to not get open looks. Being down 10 heading in the fourth quarter, the guys were pumped up heading into overtime.”
In the first overtime period, defense ruled before Adams knocked down a trey from the wing with 1:27 left for a 62-60 lead. Johnson hit two free throws to tie at 62 with 1:06 left and both teams had chanced to take the lead again. With 1.3 seconds left, Kelly got an inbounds pass from Newton and launched a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Kelly noted that he — and everyone on the court — thought it was going in. However, the shot hit the front of the basket and fell away to usher in the second overtime period.
From there, Hoquiam took charge and never trailed again.
Adams hauled in a defensive rebound off a Johnson miss from the perimeter with 11.8 seconds left and hit two free throws for a 70-66 lead. Castle Rock came back down and Johnson hit his final trey of the game with 3.1 seconds left, down 70-69. Hoquiam could have run out the clock before inbounding the ball, but did so to senior Joel Brydon.
Brydon was fouled with one-half of a second remaining, he hit the second free throw and the desperation shot by the Rockets was off-line to end the game.
Steen led Hoquiam in scoring with 18 points and five assists. Blake Kelly added 15 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double and Newton and Devin Kelly added 11 points each. Newton also had five assists and Devin Kelly three key steals late in the game.
“They have come a long way and are an integral part of this win; it is no question they stepped up and were the difference in the game,” Eccles said of his three freshmen — Steen, Adams III and Varner. “Everyone who came into the game, they contributed. This was a team win.”
Indians 66, Eagles 32
This district semifinal game bears some resemblance to the district play-in game at Montesano last week — Toledo vs. Montesano, to be exact.
In the play-in game, junior guard Brent Wood found his range from the perimeter and the Bulldogs couldn’t answer on offense or defense in a 55-35 loss.
On Tuesday night, Wood found his range from the perimeter and the Eagles couldn’t answer on offense or defense.
“They took us out of everything we tried to accomplish,” Elma head coach Marvin Prince said. “On the defensive side, they got us on our heels early. We never handled it at all. They completely took control of the game from the opening tip. Hats off to them. They played a helluva game.”
Wood scored 13 of the Indians’ 18 first-quarter points to power up to an 18-6 lead. Toledo prevailed in a defensive second quarter, a 13-2 frame that allowed it to run into the halftime locker room with a 31-8 lead over Elma. The Eagles were held to just two free throws in the quarter, both by senior Tyson Nauman with 5:45 left in the first half.
Wood finished with six treys in the first three quarters of the game and a game-high 24 points to help clinch a regional berth for the reigning state 1A champions. Senior Chance Bremer led Elma with eight points.
The second half saw Elma find some rhythm on offense, but could never trim the deficit down enough to threaten Toledo. The fourth quarter was played with the benches emptied and substitutions flowing liberally from both teams.
“The kids have nothing to be ashamed of,” Prince added. “They got us into this position and not many people gave us a shot. That’s a team that is experience. This is our first time here and hopefully we can learn from this game. We still have another shot. We get our lovely rivals, Hoquiam, next. The kids are pissed. That’s good; it is a good pissed off. They know they can play better.”
Elma 6 2 12 12 — 32
Toledo 18 13 17 18 — 66
Elma (32) — Collin 7, Nauman 6, Stark, Lorton 5, Osgood, Gillman 4, Emerson 2, Bremer 8, Hamilton, Davis, Neary. FG — 12-38 (.316). FT — 6-6.
Toledo (66) — Wood 24, F. Wallace 7, Askin, Andrews, J. Wallace, Bowen, McEwen 20, Vermilyea 10, Fuentes 3, Merly 2, Johnson, Cline. FG — 26-49 (.531). FT — 5-10.
Castle Rock 9 24 13 10 6 7 — 69
Hoquiam 12 11 13 20 6 9 — 71
Castle Rock (69) — Ayoub 1, T. Johnson 13, Kleine, B. Johnson 36, Klingberg 11, Koopman 2, Porter, Althauser 32 6. FG — 23-52 (.442). FT — 12-20.
Hoquiam (71) — Oliver, B. Kelly 15, Newton 11, D. Kelly 11, Steen 18, Adams 5, Varner 6, Anderson, Brydon 5. FG — 27-61 (.443). FT — 13-18.