2017 All-Area Boys Basketball: High-Scoring Bailey About More Than Just Points
High-Scoring Bailey About More Than Just Points
By Aaron VanTuyl
There’s more to Hodges Bailey than just points.
He’s a championship-caliber fiddle player, the subject of a handful of local memes (“#GetHodgesaTruck”) and the only Lewis County basketball player in recent memory to wear a mouthguard that’s more decorative than functional. He’s won state baseball championships in two states, was hit by a pitch 19 times one season and inked a commitment letter to play both sports at NAIA Div. I The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, Calif.
But still, the kid scored a lot of points.
Bailey, The Chronicle’s 2017 All-Area Boys Basketball team MVP, rewrote the District 4 2A tournament record book in February, scoring 42 against Mark Morris to shatter the single-game record and tie the Centralia record. Two games later he scored 36 against Columbia River, breaking the four-game tournament scoring record — a mark he’d actually tied in three games — by 36 points. He crossed the 1,000-point plateau early this season, despite moving to Centralia before his sophomore year and missing most of his junior campaign with an injury.
The Bailey family moved to Centralia from Boise, where Hodges and older brother Brannic had played on Capital High School’s 2014 state 5A basketball and baseball championship teams. The boys had competed in high-level fiddling competitions with Centralia’s musically-inclined Voetberg siblings from about the age of 5, and the families had become close friends. Why not live close by?
Bailey joined coach Ron Brown’s Tigers as a slim sophomore guard with a knack for getting to the foul line and developed into a team leader and the most dangerous scorer in Lewis County, averaging 26.4 points a game this season. Over his 55-game career in the Hub City he scored 1,290 points (23.5 a game) and hit 432 free throws at an 85.9 percent clip. He opened the season with a 41-point effort against Steilacoom in which he hit 31 of 35 foul shots and, through the Tigers’ 17-9 run and regional appearance, rarely met a defense that could slow him down.
With hooping it up in the Hub City officially in the rearview, though, Bailey said the most meaningful part of his Centralia years happened off the court.
“There’s a whole group of 6, 7, 8-year-old kids that come to our games now, and whether it’s justified or not, they have a personified view of me that’s … I mean, it’s pretty awesome,” he said. “Just to be able to influence those kids and hopefully make a difference in the community — it’s about more than just basketball. It’s about the relationships that you build.”
Rounding Out the Squad
The Big Guy
Wyatt Stanley’s no stranger to athletic honors or All-Area photos. When the Napavine forward arrived at Thursday’s photo shoot proudly wearing his state football championship ring — Stanley was the quarterback and AP Player of the Year for the Tigers’ title team — no one batted an eye, though his proud presentation of a poem he’d written on New England quarterback Tom Brady was a bit of a surprise.
He was also capable of surprises on the court, like his 5 of 6 shooting performance from behind the arc in a regional win over Seattle Lutheran. The 6-foot-3 forward averaged 13.7 points and 13.6 rebounds a game for Napavine, which finished sixth in the State 2B tournament, along with 5.4 assists and 2.6 steals. Along the way he won the Central 2B League’s MVP award and, in a loser-out state game, scored 16 points with 19 rebounds to help beat Toledo.
The Little Guy
Toledo’s Reece Wallace is never the biggest guy on the court. He does, however, exemplify what made Toledo an impressive team this year: tough defense and excellent outside shooting.
The 5-foot-8 junior guard led the Indians with 15 points a game and came up with his biggest performance in perhaps Toledo’s biggest win of the year. Wallace hit seven 3-pointers and scored 25 points in a district semifinal win over rival Napavine, knocking down big shots at the biggest points in the game to help the Indians seal a regional berth. Wallace shot 63 of 175 from long range and 40 percent from the field, adding 4 rebounds a game with a total 85 assists and 24 charges drawn.
It’s tough not to look at Matt Poquette’s work this season and wonder “What if?”
The 6-foot-5 junior forward moved into the driver’s seat for 12-10 Morton-White Pass this year and was a nearly unstoppable force in the middle, averaging 24 points and 15 rebounds a game and providing highlight-reel dunks on a nightly basis. He started off like gangbusters, scoring 39 points with 20 rebounds in a season-opening loss to La Center and never cooled off, putting up big numbers while helping a team with minimal crunch-time varsity experience prep for the playoffs. Catching a forearm to the face, though, left his mouth a mess and knocked him out of the lineup just a few days before the playoffs began, leaving MWP fans to wonder: Just how tough is Poquette going to be to stop next year?
Tanner Rigdon saved the best for last.
The only senior in Adna’s starting lineup scored 27 points against perennial power Northwest Christian in the Pirates’ final game of the season, standing out one last time in a lineup that was, throughout the year, as balanced as could be.
Rigdon provided crunch-time scoring and a steady hand on a young, fast team, averaging 15.9 points and 6.6 rebounds — both team-highs — for a 21-8 Adna squad that finished third in District 4 and made the final eight cut in the State 2B tournament. The 6-foot-1 senior also shot an impressive 54 percent from the field and picked up a Central 2B League first-team nod.