TACOMA – Neah Bay’s top-ranked boys basketball team proved to be too powerful for Wishkah.
Combining a free-flowing offensive approach with a full-court pressure defense, the Red Devils dominated from the outset, rolling to a 71-50 win over the Loggers in a boys 1B regional basketball game Saturday morning at Mt. Tahoma High School.
The Loggers finished their season at 17-6.
Seeking its first appearance in a boys’ basketball state tournament since 1985, Wishkah stayed within striking range for the first quarter and a half. Falling behind by as many as 10 in the first quarter, the Loggers trailed by just six with 6:52 left in the second after a Keigan Gardiner layin off a Brady Anderson half-court bounce pass and a Robert Rodriguez 3-pointer from the left wing made the score 18-12.
However, the Red Devils used a series of rebounds and Wishkah turnovers to run off 12 straight points and open up a 30-12 lead. Jumpers from Trey Berge and Chris Thein made it 30-16 at halftime.
Neah Bay closed the door on any potential Wishkah comeback in the first two minutes of the third quarter. Ratcheting up its pressure, the Red Devils scored 11 straight points to take a 41-16 lead. The Loggers wouldn’t get any closer than the final margin the rest of the way.
“We do good things, we just struggled to score in the first half,” said Wishkah coach Matt Ferrier. “Once it got to a 20-point lead that was tough. Our kids just kept fighting but we struggled to deal with their pressure.”
Neah Bay’s pressure was particularly troublesome for Wishkah scoring ace Brady Anderson. Held scoreless for the first half, Anderson closed out his stellar prep career with nine points, well below his season average.
“We haven’t seen pressure like that all year, and it makes everything harder to execute,” Ferrier noted.
Six Loggers closed out their prep careers – Anderson, Berge, Rodriguez, Thein, Matthew Richardson and Gavin Baltzell. Using an array of putbacks and post moves, Berge finished with a team-high 18 points.
Athletic junior Abraham Venseke was one of four Red Devils to score in double figures, leading all scorers with 20 points.
This contest was the first of six games at Mount Tahoma, with a 10 a.m., tipoff. Ferrier thought the early start time had little to no effect on his teams’ performance.
“We practiced early every day this week. Playing the number one team in the state had a lot more to do with the game than the time did,” the Wishkah coach said.
Ferrier signed off by saluting his six seniors.
“Not many kids leave the Wishkah basketball program with a winning record in their four years, but these guys do,” he said. “We set a goal – to get to Spokane (site of the 1B state tournament) – and we fell short, but it was a very successful season. These guys are leaving our program in a remarkable spot. I couldn’t have asked for a finer group of boys to compete with.”
Wishkah 7 9 13 21 - 50
Neah Bay 15 15 25 16 - 71
Wishkah (50) – B. Anderson 9, J. Anderson, Baltzell 7, Berge 18, Gardiner 4, Richardson, Rodriguez 5, Thein 7. FG – 20-54 (.370). FT – 7-13.
Neah Bay (71) – Buttram, Claplanhoo, Doherty 10, J. Greene 11, Z. Greene 7, Johnson, Martinez 2, McCaulley 3, Moss 13, Porter, Reamer 5, Venske 20. FG – 29-64 (.453). FT – 5-13.