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Thursday’s 2A Girls Basketball: Rally Comes Up Just Short in Tigers’ EvCo Opener

Centralia's Danika Jensen (left) and Rachel Wilkerson try to wrestle the ball away from Tumwater's Sierra Snyder during an Evergreen 2A Conference basketball game at Centralia on Thursday.

Centralia’s Danika Jensen (left) and Rachel Wilkerson try to wrestle the ball away from Tumwater’s Sierra Snyder during an Evergreen 2A Conference basketball game at Centralia on Thursday.

TIGHT: Centralia Outscores Tumwater 27-16 in Second Half of 39-36 Loss

By Aaron VanTuyl

avantuyl@chronline.com

The Tigers’ spirited rally after the break was impressive, particularly given the way the first half played out.

Even if it wasn’t quite enough.

Ellie Corwin’s free throws brought Centralia within a point with 31 seconds left, but Brooke Hare bolstered the Thunderbirds’ lead with her own foul shots 14 seconds later and the Tigers’ game-tying 3-pointer rimmed out at the buzzer to give Tumwater a 39-36 win Thursday night at Ron Brown Court.

Centralia, however, trailed 23-9 at halftime after a 6 ½ minute scoring drought to start the second quarter.

“That first half we had was not a great half of basketball, by any means,” Tiger coach Doug Ashmore said. “For them to respond and come out and give us at least a fighting chance at the end, that was a great job by them.”

Centralia picked things up after the break, with a 9-0 run spanning the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth. That streak included three drives to the lane for buckets by Rachel Wilkerson, who scored all of her team-high 10 points in the second half.

“We just calmed down offensively, to where we went to our little play, the pick and roll up high,” Ashmore said. “It just calmed some things down.”

Defensively, meanwhile, Centralia shifted its press and went to a 1-3-1 zone defense, which harassed the Thunderbirds into 4 of 23 shooting from the floor in the second half.

“We kind of confused them a bit, defensively,” Ashmore said.

Carissa Kaut hit a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, and Corwin scored on a putback with with just over a minute left to make it 37-34. Tumwater was called for a travel on its next possession — one of 22 turnovers — and Corwin converted her key free throws on the other end to make it a 1-point margin.

“She’s clutch. She’s been, all year, our junior leader, and our captain, and just been there all year for us,” Ashmore said. “I had the confidence in her that I could call timeout, so we could set up something defensively and know what we were in.”

The Thunderbirds got the ball inbounds, worked it across halfcourt and called a timeout before being whistled for a 5-second violation. Corwin intentionally fouled Hare with 17 seconds left, putting the senior forward on the foul line, where she hit both for the last of her 13 points.

Centralia missed a layup on the other end, and Tumwater’s Ellaney Jelcick came up with the rebound and drew a foul. Her free throw was off the mark, and the Tigers called a timeout with 3.2 seconds left.

Their opposite-end inbounds play — a pass over the defense’s collective heads — wound up out of bounds on the other end. The officials ruled that it had been tipped by Tumwater, giving Centralia one last shot with 0.8 seconds on the clock.

“With no timeouts left, you just tell the girls to screen a girl and get open,” Ashmore said. “We had a look, and a desperation shot.”

Tumwater, though, survived for the win, led by 14 points from senior guard Sierra Snyder and a 35-22 advantage on the glass. Hare led the way with 11 boards.

Kaut finished with 9 points for the Tigers, and Corwin scored 8 with nine rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.

Centralia (6-5, 0-1 league) hosts Black Hills on Wednesday.
Bearcats Cruise in EvCo Debut

ROCHESTER — A deep and talented W.F. West lineup proved to be too much for the Warriors to handle here Thursday night as the Bearcats ran away with a 81-25 victory to open Evergreen 2A Conference play.

The Bearcats held a 43-20 lead at halftime and then held Rochester to just 5 points the rest of the way, including a scoreless fourth quarter, to officially put the game on ice.

Despite the blowout loss Rochester coach A.J. Easley was not all sour grapes in his postgame interview.

“There’s parts that you want to flush but we were only down 43-20 at the half, and when you’re only down 23, but you’re playing the number-one team in the state that’s saying something,” noted Easley.

Despite that admirable ability to see the first-half silver lining, Easley couldn’t quite figure out how to dress up the second half.

“It was the few minutes out of the half that really determined that this was going to be a blowout,” said Easley. “There were about four minutes where we didn’t get a shot off and I don’t think they missed.”

The Bearcats were led in scoring by Kiara Steen’s 17 points on 7 of 8 shooting, with four steals, while Shasta Lofgren, Sarah Haakensen and Courtney Bennett tossed in 11 points each.

In all the Bearcats had 10 players reach the scoring column on the night. Easley said it is that seemingly bottomless well of players that makes the Bearcats so tough to contain.

“When they’ve got 13, 14 players they can go to and we only have seven or eight. That’s where it can get out of control a little bit,” said Easley. “When you can go that deep on your bench and still be effective, it’s pretty impressive.”

A slow shooting night certainly didn’t help Rochester’s odds either, as the Warriors mustered just a 17-percent mark from the floor in the game.

Lexi Sederberg paced the Warriors with 8 points while Emilee Gedney and Paige Winter chipped in 7 each. Winter added five rebounds.

Rochester (3-7, 0-1 league) plays at R.A. Long on Saturday at 1 p.m, while W.F. West (8-0, 1-0) will play at Camas on Saturday.
At Centralia

THUNDERBIRDS 39, TIGERS 36

Tumwater 7 16   7   9 —39

Centralia   7   2 13 14 —36

Tumwater (39) — Jelcick 3, Fields 5, Smith 2, Koelsch 2, Hare 13, Snyder 14

FG: 12 of 46 —.261 FT: 8 of 10 —.800 Reb. 35 (Hare 11)

Centralia (36) — Petrino 4, Wilkerson 10, Porter 5, Kaut 9, Corwin 8

FG: 14 of 44 —.318 FT: 5 of 7 —.714 Reb. 22 (Corwin 9)
At Rochester

BEARCATS 81, WARRIORS 25

W.F. West 19   24   26  12 —81

Rochester    9   11     5    0 —25

W.F. West (81) — Vadala 2, Johnson 9, Lofgren 11, S. Haakensen 11, Bennett 11, Brumfield 8, Steen 17, Fast 2, M. Haakensen 2, Strasser 8

FG: N/A FT: 6 of 11 —.545 Reb: N/A

Rochester (25) — Gedney 7, Hahn 3, Sederberg 8, Winter 7

FG: 6 of 34 —.176 FT: 13 of 24 —.541 Reb: 19 (Paige Winter 5)

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