OYEHUT — North Beach and Montesano got a good early season non-league test from one another in a plysically played and tightly contest game Thursday night.
In a contest where neither team led by more than 10 points throughout, the Hyaks took the final lead of the game with 1:24 remaining to seal a hard-fought 54-48 boys basketball win over the Bulldogs at the “House of Pain” at North Beach High School.
Montesano duo Kenny Roy and Kody Usher led all scorers with 14 points each. North Beach’s Pedro Gonzales and Gabe Hernandez scored 13 points each.
“You know that had to be a difficult game to officiate, because both teams came out very physical,” North Beach head coach Larry Moore said. “For the most part, the officials did a nice job. I thought a couple of our kids made some big plays when we needed them — Levi Edlin hit a big three, Michael Beck hit a big three, Pedro nailed a really big three for us and Gabe went inside for a big rebound and putback late.”
Both teams brought their defenses to bear in this game. North Beach’s pressure defense forced 23 turnovers from Montesano. The Bulldogs’ half-court trap and man pressure inside forced the Hyaks to either convert their first shot or lose the rebound.
“It was a physical game, but it was physical both ways,” Montesano head coach Doug Galloway said. “It was a really well-officiated game; neither team had an advantage from it. Yeah, that’s too many turnovers. We usually aim for 15 or under, but this is the type of game where you learn from that.”
After three quarters, North Beach held a 36-31 lead. Montesano made it disappear on its first two possessions of the quarter — an inside jumper by Roy and a 3-point shot from the top of the key by Usher — at 36-36. Evan Bialkowsky gave Montesano a brief 38-36 lead on an inside basket. It was the Bulldogs’ second lead of the game.
On the next Hyak possession, Edlin gave the hosts the lead back with a 3-point conversion from the corner at 39-38 with 5:49 left. The lead changed hands on the next several possessions, with the teams trading turnovers and missed shots in between field goals.
Montesano called its final timeout with 4:08 remaining to save a 10-second call in the backcourt. The Bulldogs made the final break count when Usher drained a 3-pointer from the wing for a 45-42 lead with 3:42 left. This would be the final time Monte led in the contest.
Beck knocked down a trey on North Beach’s next possession to tie the game at 45-45. Monte lost Roy to fouls on its next possession on an offensive foul in the paint with 3:06 left. The Hyaks would finish the game with a 9-3 spurt after Roy’s departure.
After traded free throws, which were an adventure for both teams — North Beach at 8-for-19 from the line and Montesano at 9-for-19 — Gonzales finished a frenzied Hyak possession with a 3-pointer from the corner for the final lead change, 49-46, with 1:24 left.
“For the most part, we played pretty well,” Moore said. “In the first half, they really killed us on the boards. We did a nice job of adjusting and getting our share in the second half. (Monte) has some good ball players. They’re tough.”
“We competed and we battled,” Galloway added. “There were a lot of times where they made some shots and made some runs, but we battled back and stayed in the game. I was impressed and proud of the boys for how well they did that.”
The entire contest, especially in the first three quarters, was a rough-and-tumble affair befitting two schools known for their football programs.
North Beach led by as many as 10, 22-12, with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first half off its defensive pressure and Monte turnovers. The Bulldogs stayed in the contest by getting to the free-throw line and mopping up the boards against the smaller Hyaks.
Montesano tied the game at 26-26 early in the third quarter and gained its first lead of the contest, 28-27, off a Logan Truax jump-stop drive with five minutes left in the quarter.
On Monday, North Beach (2-0) returns to action at Hoquiam. On Wednesday, Montesano (1-1) stays home to greet Naselle.
Monte 10 12 9 17 — 48
NB 16 10 10 18 — 54
Montesano (48) — Landry, Truax 3, Usher 14, Chastain 2, Roy 14, Louthan 2, Herzog 5, Bialkowsky 8. FG — na. FT — 9-19.
North Beach (54) — Beck 8, Gonzales 13, Chong 9, Takagi 2, Ketter, Edlin 3, Hernandez 13, Fry 6. FG — na. FT — 8-19.
JV — North Beach won.