MENLO — When the bleeding started for Willapa Valley’s boys in the fourth quarter, Stephen Camenzind and Matt Konigsberger were on hand to apply the tourniquet.
Camenzind and Konigsberger combined for the game’s final 10 points as the Vikings handed North Beach its first loss, 55-43, in a Pacific League boys basketball showdown Saturday night at Tenoski Gym.
The victory lifted Valley (8-1, 14-3) into a tie with the third-ranked Hyaks (8-1, 15-1) for the league lead.
The 6-foot-4 Camenzind was a tower of strength for the Vikings throughout, finishing with 24 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Konigsberger contributed 14 points — six in the fourth quarter — and 11 boards.
Junior wing Gabe Hernandez almost single-handedly fueled a North Beach comeback in the fourth quarter, tallying eight of his 13 points in the final period. Senior Corey Thornton also finished with 13 points for North Beach.
The normally sharpshooting Hyaks connected on only 34 percent of their field-goal attempts. Valley’s defense, with Konigsberger primarily guarding Thornton and Cody Buchanan drawing the duty on the much taller Hernandez, had something to do with that low percentage. North Beach, however, also missed a bundle of close-in tries.
“I don’t know how many (easy shots) we missed, but it was a lot — a lot of lay-ins,” North Beach coach Larry Moore said. “It just wasn’t meant to be tonight. You can’t take anything away from Valley. They played a great game, great defense.”
Pundits who describe basketball as a game of runs would have loved this contest. Incredibly, the game’s final 37 points came on spurts of successive points by one team or the other.
“That was a heavyweight fight, wasn’t it?,” Willapa Valley coach John Peterson reflected. “No head shots, nothing but body blows.”
Down 32-29 after leading by as many as nine in the first half, the Vikings uncorked a run of 16 consecutive points beginning midway through the third quarter. The Hyaks committed seven of their 14 turnovers in that period, while Valley’s Kyler Oblad and Anthony Sagen contributed 3-point baskets. Sagen’s trey about 90 seconds into the fourth quarter gave the Vikes a seemingly comfortable 45-32 advantage.
With the Hyaks shifting into a pressing, trapping defense, Hernandez made it much less comfortable for the hosts over the next 3 1/2 minutes. He personally accounted for the next eight points and Pedro Gonzales provided the finishing touches on an 11-0 spree with a three-ball at the 2:42 mark. That trimmed the deficit to 45-43.
But the Vikings, who had let a late lead escape in an overtime loss at North Beach earlier this season, never buckled.
The Hyaks, who had missed two lay-ins even during their fourth-quarter spurt, nearly forced another turnover on Valley’s next possession, but succeeded only in tipping the ball back to Buchanan.
Seconds later, Camenzind banked in a short jumper. Following a North Beach turnover, Konigsberger buried a three from the left wing to extend the margin to seven with 1:44 remaining.
Camenzind and Konigsberger then combined to hit 5-of-6 free throws in the closing 1:19 to salt it away.
“We’re not athletic like they are,” Peterson said. “We have to grind and I thought we did a great job of that tonight.”
Sagen, who scored eight points in a reserve role despite being plagued by illness, drew Peterson’s praise. Buchanan and Drew Pearson were cited for floor play.
Justin Chong finished with 10 points for North Beach. Hernandez pulled down 12 rebounds, while Thornton handed out four assists.
The Hyaks return to Willapa Harbor on Tuesday to face Raymond. The Vikings are idle until hosting Northwest Christian on Senior Night Friday.
N. Beach 7 18 7 11 — 43
Wil. Valley 15 9 16 15 — 55
North Beach (43) — Beck, Thornton 13, Gonzales 7, Justin Chong 10, Hernandez 13, Takagi, Ketter, Edlin, Fry. FG — 19-56 (.339). FT — 3-9.
Willapa Valley (55) — Buchanan, Konigsberger 14, Oblad 5, Pearson 2, Camenzind 24, Sagen 8, Gray 2. FG — 18-44 (.409). FT — 16-23.
JV — North Beach 56, Willapa Valley 50.