MONTESANO — In lieu of Senior Night, Montesano’s girls staged a championship celebration.
Scoring the game’s opening 11 points, the unbeaten Bulldogs wrapped up the undisputed Evergreen 1A League girls basketball championship with a 60-32 victory over Hoquiam on Monday night at Bo Griffith Memorial Gym.
The Bulldogs (11-0, 19-0) had already clinched no worse than a share of its first league championship since 1997. Monday’s win gave them the undisputed league championship and the top-seeded district berth.
Monte’s three previous league crowns in the past 27 years were all co-championships. It was not immediately known if the Bulldog girls have ever claimed sole possession of a title.
The Bulldogs were making their final home appearance. Since their roster does not contain any 12th graders, one reason why they were lightly regarded in most preseason forecasts, the traditional Senior Night ceremonies were unnecessary.
Two freshmen and a junior played key roles in this triumph.
Although largely denied the ball by Hoquiam’s zone for the first three quarters, freshman post Jordan Spradlin converted enough offensive rebounds to lead all scorers with 19 points. She also had 15 boards.
Junior point guard Megan Choate added 16 points. Freshman reserve Shayla Floch, hitting a couple of 3-point baskets and some runners from inside the key, contributed 14 points — nine of those in the first half when the Bulldogs were struggling a bit offensively.
“I thought the biggest thing was Shayla Floch coming off the bench and giving us some energy (in the first half),” Monte coach Julie Graves said. “She hit a couple of shots and attacked the basket and I felt like the team (loosened up) after that.”
Senior guard Brandi Creviston scored all 10 of her points in the second half to pace Hoquiam (6-5, 9-10).
Two Montesano first-half spurts settled the outcome.
As in the first meeting of the Harbor rivals, a 48-44 Bulldog win that represented Monte’s closest call of the season, the Grizzlies began the contest by keeping the ball out of Spradlin’s hands with an effective zone defense.
Their efforts were thwarted, however, by 12 turnovers in the opening quarter. Although experiencing their own ball-handling issues, the Bulldogs nonetheless erected an 11-0 lead before Ellie Quercia finally ended the HHS drought with a basket in the final two seconds of the quarter.
Receiving solid bench play from Vanessa Doyle and Arleen Kramer, Hoquiam regrouped to trim the margin to five early in the second quarter. The Bulldogs owned a modest 17-9 advantage before launching their second run.
After Cortney Miller made a free throw and Spradlin powered in a pair of lay-ins, Choate stole the ball and soloed for a lay-in. Choate then hit from the left elbow and Shayla Floch put down a last-second three-ball to complete the 12-0 spree in the final 2:17 that enabled the Bulldogs to grab a 29-9 halftime lead.
“I thought we were playing really good defense and we were frustrating them,” HHS coach Mark Maxfield recounte. “Then they had a couple of breakaways and hit (a) three and scored the final 12 points. That was the three minutes that essentially cost us the game.”
The teams swapped baskets for the third quarter, with the Grizzlies never drawing closer than 16. Montesano pulled away in the fourth period to lead by as many as 29.
The Bulldogs were a dismal 13-of-31 from the foul line, but owned a substantial rebounding advantage and had a hand in 25 Hoquiam turnovers.
“Our intensity tonight was really good, especially on the defensive end,” Graves noted.
Doyle came off the bench to collect a team-high seven rebounds. Kylie Stewart had five boards and Quercia four steals for the Grizzlies.
Both teams conclude their regular season Thursday. The Bulldogs travel to Rochester. Hoquiam, locked into the fourth district seed, visits Elma.
Hoquiam 2 7 12 11 — 32 Monte 11 18 12 19 — 60
Hoquiam (32) — Quercia 2, Rose 3, Creviston 10, Johnson, Stewart, Parker 4, Kramer 4, Gwinn 2, Sanaver 2, Doyle 5, Hilliard. FG — 12-40 (.300). FT — 6-11.
Montesano (60) — M. Floch 6, Choate 15, Miller 2, Kloempken 2, Spradlin 19, S. Floch 14, Jensen 2, Bartlett, Schurr, Howard. FG — 22-60 (.367). FT — 13-31.
JV — Montesano 33, Hoquiam 15. Josie Toyra 14 points for Montesano.