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Wednesday’s Boys Basketball: T-Birds Outmuscle Centralia at Home

Tumwater’s Damon Gaither (20) makes a layup Tuesday night at Ron Brown court.

Cleaning the Glass: Tigers Never Find Their Stride in 73-28 Loss to Tumwater

By Jordan Nailon / jnailon@chronline.com

Tumwater announced their presence with authority here at Ron Brown Court on Wednesday night as they ran out to a 13-0 lead over Centralia on their way to a 73-28 win in their 2A Evergreen Conference boys basketball matchup. 

The T-Birds did it all, and they did it well, in that first quarter. They dominated the glass. They worked the ball inside. They pressured the Tigers into turnovers. They got out and ran. And they seemed to knock down every open look from beyond the arc.

That opening surge of dominance resulted in  28-7 advantage for the visitors after the first eight minutes of play and the T-Birds never let off the gas. In fact, the only thing that held Tumwater’s offense in check was the running clock that took effect once they went up 61-21 in the third quarter.

“They pushed the ball and we just weren’t getting back defensively,” said Centralia coach Kyle Donahue. “It’s one of the things we talked about before the game was not getting caught in the front court by worrying about what they did after the rebound. We needed to get back on defense in transition.”

Donahue added that the T-Birds drained four of six three pointers in the opening quarter to to help establish their early advantage. Tumwater shot 62 percent from the field for the game.

“That was probably our best offensive effort of the season,” said Tumwater coach Josh Wilson. “Typically it’s our defensive effort that gets us going and I think you still saw that tonight.”

Tumwater’s Damon Gaither snatched the first seven rebounds of the game and helped limit Centralia to just a smattering of boards in the first half. Gaither finished the game with 13 points and 14 rebounds for a double-double.

The T-Birds outscored Centralia 23-3 in the third quarter to push their lead past 40 points. Kaden Lewis of Tumwater led all scorers with 17 points and Peyton Peterson added 13 points.

“They shot 30 of 48 and you’re going to shoot pretty well when most of them are wide open layins,” said Donahue.

After falling behind right out of the chute Centrali eventually started working the ball in low to Benito Valencia in an attempt to break the seal on the Tumwater defense. Using an array of post moves, including a talcum powder soft baby-hook, Valencia notched seven first-half points.

“I thought Benito had a really good first half for us. We got the ball inside to him and I thought he had a couple good moves,” said Donahue. “They made some adjustments and started doubling him and we weren’t quick enough to get it in and back out and reposition.”

Valencia finished the game with team-highs in points points (8) and rebounds (5).

The Tigers coughed the ball up 22 times on the night and made just 12 of 36 shots from the field. Jason Baum was Centralia’s next highest scorer with five points in the contest.

Donahue noted that there’s little time for self-pity in the heart of league play.

“You’ve got to have short term memory loss. I think the most important game of the season for us is the next game. Especially where we are at in the season right now. We’ve got Aberdeen, Rocehster and then W.F. West and if we want to make it into the playoffs that game against Aberdeen is a game we’ve got to win.”

Centralia (2-11, 1-2 league) will host Aberdeen on Friday. 


Bearcats Hammer Rochester

ROCHESTER — W.F. West didn’t meet much resistance here Wednesday night, beating the Warriors 69-32 in Evergreen 2A Conference boys hoops action.

Tyler Speck led W.F. West with 22 points. Max Taylor chipped in 11, Easton Guerrero added 10, and Carter McCoy — coming off a WIAA Athlete of the Week nod — provided the game’s biggest highlight when he dunked an off-the-glass assist from Kayden Kelly on a fast break.

Rochester (0-13) plays at Black Hills on Friday. W.F. West (8-4, 2-1 league) hosts Tumwater on Friday.


Elma Escapes Stone City with a Win

TENINO — The Eagles used the charity stripe to help hold on for a win here on Wednesday as they topped the Beavers 70-68 in a 1A Evergreen League boys basketball contest.

Elma sank 18 of 24 free throw attempts in the contest and missed just one shot from the line in the second half as they beat back a late charge from Tenino.

The Eagles went up 18-7 in the first quarter and took a 35-20 lead into the intermission. Nick Church tied for a game-high of 21 points in the win while Sawyer Whitt chipped in 13 points.

“We dug ourselves quite a whole out of the gate,” said Tenino coach Josef Chirhart. “We just really struggle taking care of the rock and a lot of our turnovers lead to fastbreak buckets.”

Tenino won the third quarter 17-13 but couldn’t hold the Eagles down in the fourth quarter to complete the comeback.

Takari Hickle was instrumental in the Beavers attack as he posted a double-double with 21 points and ten rebounds. Logan Brewer also posted 21 points, to go along with seven steals, and five assists. Zach Russell added ten points in the loss.

Tenino (4-9, 0-3 league) will play at Hoquiam on Friday.


At Centralia


Tumwater 28 14 23 8 —73

Centralia 7 11 3 7 —28

Tumwater (73) — Peterson 14, Clay 8, Fields 2, Lewis 17, Oram 7, Dillon 4, Gaither 13, Jones 1, Otton 7

FG: 30 of 48 —.625 FT: 8 of 19 —.421 Reb: 25 (Gaither 14)

Centralia (28) — House 4, Baum 5, Beairsto 2, Valencia 8, Hoyt 3, Erickson 4, Kaut 2

FG: 12 of 36 —.333 FT: 3 of 7 —.428 Reb: 16 (Valencia 5)


At Tenino


Elma 18 17 13 22 —70

Tenino 7 13 17 21 —58

Elma (70) — Seaberg 7, Moore 8, Church 21, Whitt 13, Johnston 7, Jones-Wyeth 2, Aho 12

FG: 23 of 64 —.359 FT: 18 of 24 —.750 Reb: N/A

Tenino (58) — Z. Russell 10, Brewer 21, P. Russell 2, Whitaker 4, Hickle 21 

FG: 24 of 63 —.380 FT: 8 of 12 —.667 Reb: 29 (Hickle 10)

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