WESTPORT — Ocosta used second and third chances to stay very close to Class 1A Hoquiam on Friday night. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, those chances evaporated in the second half.
The Wildcats used those chances to keep the Grizzlies at bay before trailing 36-31 at halftime. In the second half, Hoquiam’s defense caught up with Ocosta’s rebounding prowess to steamroll, 85-50, in this non-league boys basketball game at Ocosta High School.
Devin Kelly and Evan Newton led all scorers with 14 points each for Hoquiam, which shot 60 percent from the field.
James Benn led Ocosta with 12 points and 11 rebounds. The Wildcats outrebounded the Grizzlies, 36-30, including 25 offensive rebounds.
“That was the difference; second and third-chance points were there for them in the first half,” HHS head coach Curtis Eccles said. “We were fine offensively, but we emphasize defense at halftime. Those offensive rebounds were unacceptable. We told the guys to not give a team like Ocosta those second and third chances and we did a better job in the second half. We have to do that for four quarters.”
“After they got off to a 9-0 start, we got going and made it a very even first half,” Ocosta head coach Jason Quinby said. “After halftime, the game got away from us and got physical. That was the turning point. Connor Pegg came in and, along with Benn, we got some quality minutes and big efforts on the glass. I liked our intensity in the first half, getting those 50-50 balls. They came out and outworked us in the second half.”
The final score really doesn’t tell the story of this game, which was built upon Ocosta’s rebounding against an equally stout Hoquiam squad in the first half.
Hoquiam (7-5) broke out to a 9-0 lead in the first 4 minutes of the game. Ocosta relaxed and found its rhythm inside to get back into the contest. A 17-8 run, with 10 points coming off offensive rebounds by James Benn, Pegg, Caleb Tackett and Kyle Bambauer, got the Wildcats to a 17-17 first-quarter marker.
The Grizzlies, playing their second game in two nights, kept their offensive tempo speedy. Jack Adams III, Jerod Steen, Blake Kelly and Devin Kelly pressured Ocosta’s back court for turnovers and layups.
Another Grizzly run, a 10-4 spurt, forced the Wildcats into a timeout with 4:52 left in the first half. Hoquiam scored six quick points in three possessions, all of them off Ocosta turnovers, for a 27-21 lead.
Ocosta stayed close with Benn, Tackett and Bambauer fighting in the paint for rebounds and points. The hosts closes to within four several times before needing a steal and layup by Alex Herrera to seal a 36-31 deficit to Hoquiam at halftime.
As in Thursday night’s win over Montesano, Hoquiam readjusted its defense in the second half and powered its offense along the way.
Benn’s inside basket one minute into the second half was the only Ocosta marker in a 17-2 Hoquiam run and a 53-33 lead with 3:47 left in the third quarter. Adams III had nine points in the run for the Grizzlies, who forced seven Wildcat turnovers and forced a 1-for-10 clip from the field.
Hoquiam rotated its bench throughout the second half and the game kept moving with both teams running in transition at every opportunity.
Early in the fourth quarter, Pegg injured his right arm, holding it tightly to his chest after a series of physical attempts at the ball in the paint. Coach Quinby was optimistic that the injury wasn’t severe.
Pegg finished with five rebounds for the Wildcats, who got 10 points each from Sobrera and Herrera. Kolby Standstipher added 13 points for Hoquiam, all of them in the fourth quarter. Varner scored 12 and Adams 11 in support of the Grizzlies.
Today, Ocosta stays home to take on North Beach. On Tuesday, Hoquiam travels to Elma in a battle of Evergreen 1A unbeaten.
Hoquiam (85) — B. Kelly 4, Newton 14, D. Kelly 14, White 3, Steen 6, Adams 11, Varner 12, Standstipher 13, Anderson, Brydon 8, Oliver. FG — 37-62 (.597) FT — 7-14.
Ocosta (50) — Short, Tackett 7, Sobrera 10, Herrera 10, Bambauer 8, Juarez 1, Pegg 2, Benn 12. FG — 19-63 (.302). FT — 8-14.
JV — Hoquiam 54, Ocosta 38.