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Thursday’s 2A Boys BB: Bearcats Beat Tumwater to Stay Alive

W.F. West’s Brandon White dunks against Tumwater on Thursday night in Centralia.

DISTRICTS: Thomas, Bench Help W.F. West in 69-46 Win; W.F. West Plays Black Hills Saturday for Regional Bid

By Aaron VanTuyl


The Bearcats didn’t have much time to wallow after suffering their toughest loss of the season — and their only loss, to date, against a 2A opponent. Two days after falling to Columbia River in the District 4 2A semifinals, W.F. West was back on the court fighting to keep its season alive.

The coaches, though, made sure that even that limited amount of time wasn’t spent looking in the rearview mirror, throwing a handful of new plays out at practice on Wednesday.

“They spent so much time kind of figuring that out that they didn’t have time to whine about their terrible performance the day before,” Bearcat coach Chris White joked. “I guess it was good teaching by coach (Kyle) Karnofski and myself.”

With a 69-46 win over Tumwater — in Thursday’s consolation semifinals at Centralia — in the books, it’s safe to say the scheme worked.

Bryce Dobyns and a handful of reserves came up big in the third quarter, Jordan Thomas stood out on both ends of the court and W.F. West (20-3) outscored the T-Birds 38-17 in the second half to win going away.

“It took one day, which is kind of hard, to bounce back, but we really had to change our mindset after the loss,” Thomas said. “We had a day to prepare and just change our focus and go game-by-game.”

The victory puts the Bearcats in Saturday’s third-place game against Black Hills, with a spot in the regional playoffs on the line.

Thomas, a senior point guard, scored 11 points with 10 rebounds and seven assists, and held Tumwater’s C.J. Geathers to 10 points on 3 of 16 shooting.

“He’s really hard to guard, but I had to step it up,” Thomas said. “I was a little gassed at times, but that’s what we work on, so I just had to push through it and keep playing defense, playing full-court.”

Geathers, the Evergreen 2A Conference MVP, averaged 23 points a game during the regular season and concluded his prep career on Thursday.

“That’s hard duty. He’s really good,” White said of Geathers. “He did amazing. For a while we were getting frustrated with how many of the other guys were hurting us, but we got things figured out in the second half.”

Foul trouble limited the Bearcats in the second and third quarters, but the bench — including Bryce Dobyns, Tyler Speck, Troy Yarter, Brock Jones, Colton Baker and Kayden Kelly — came up big. Dobyns opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer and scored 7 of his 12 points in the frame, and a handful of T-Bird turnovers helped W.F. West outscore Tumwater 20-6 and finish the quarter on an 11-0 run to go up 51-35.

“That ended up being a real blessing,” White said. “It’s kind of scary to go that deep on the bench, but the kids answered the call and they contributed very positively.”

By the fourth quarter, the Bearcats were rolling. Bailey Cooper, out part of the second and most of the third with foul trouble, checked in with 6:04 to go in the fourth and scored 5 straight points to push the lead to 17. Brandon White got free on a fastbreak and threw down a two-handed dunk, and Tumwater starters Jack Koelsch and Jelani Jones both fouled out midway through the frame.

Brandon White finished with a team-high 14 points with 12 rebounds. Cooper scored all 8 of his points in the fourth quarter, and Jones led Tumwater with 12 points.

W.F. West now faces Black Hills, a team it beat 61-52 and 55-39 in the regular season, on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Mark Morris High School in Longview. The winner finished third in the District 4 tournament and advances to regionals, while the loser moves on to track and baseball season.

“You can’t script anything better, even though this has been a tough road to take,” Chris White said. “It’ll be a real physical contest, and we’re looking forward to it.”

Bauer, Black Hills End Centralia’s Season

Jackson Bauer exploded for 32 points, and Black Hills scored 27 points in the fourth quarter to run away from Centralia with a 77-56 win Thursday in a District 4 2A boys consolation semifinal game in Chehalis.

Bauer, a junior guard who averaged 6.4 points a game during the regular season, went 11 of 19 from the field and 7 of 8 at the foul line and scored 21 points in the first half.

The Wolves led 34-23 at the break, and outscored Centralia 27-19 in the fourth quarter.

Ben Janssan scored 16 points to lead Centralia. Michael Ajoge added 14 with six rebounds and Tyler Ashmore chipped in 12.

Joe Crumley added 16 for Black Hills, with Garrett Glenn chipping in 14.

The Tigers finished the season with a 12-11 record, after taking second in the Evergreen 2A Conference. It was the final game for seniors Janssan, Ashmore, Conner Wasson, Kolby Sharp, Kolby Baird and Jackson Grimm.

Black Hills (14-9) moves on to face W.F. West at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Mark Morris High School in Longview in the tournament’s third-place game, with the final District 4 berth to regionals on the line.


At Centralia


W.F. West 18 13 20 18 —69

Tumwater 16 13  6  11 —46

W.F. West (69) — Yarter 2, Kelly 2, Dobyns 12, Wollan 6, Baker, Jones 3, Thomas 11, Speck 4, Waring, B. White 14, C. White 7, Cooper 8

FG: 26 of 55 —.473 FT: 14 of 32 —.438 Reb. 29 (Thomas 10)

Tumwater (46) — Peterson, Williams 4, Geathers 10, Fields 1, Koelsch 4, Jones 12, Gilliland 5, Murphy 10

FG: 14 of 43 —.323 FT: 13 of 17 —.765 Reb. 21 (Gilliland 4)

At Chehalis


Centralia   10 13 14 19 —56

Black Hills 19 15 16 27 —77

Centralia (56) — Wasson 7, Ajoge 14, Emmons 2, Sharp, Janssan 16, Baird 2, Ashmore 12, Grimm 4

FG: 20 of 45 —.444 FT: 10 of 18 —.555 Reb. 19 (Ajoge 6)

Black Hills (77) — J. Crumley 16, Loveless 1, Bauer 32, Glenn 14, Wright 3, Walker 5, Z. Crumley 6

FG: 27 of 53 —.509 FT: 13 of 17 —.764 Reb. 16

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