By Jordan Nailon
CASTLE ROCK — Danny Dalsted made it rain like April showers here on Wednesday and propelled Onalaska to a stunning 85-45 win over Adna in a District IV 2B boys basketball loser-out affair.
Dalsted scored a game-high 25 points on 8 of 9 shooting that included a 7 for 8 mark from beyond the 3-point arc. The Loggers shot an astounding 65 percent from the field as a team in the runaway victory that puts them one win away from a berth to the regional round of the state playoffs.
Onalaska coach Wayne Nelson said he’d never seen his team put on a shooting display quite like they did with their backs against the wall and the Pirates standing in their way.
“No, we knew we could but it came at a great time, obviously,” Nelson said. “Plus our defense was going so we had both things working, and when we can do that we’re not half bad.”
With 4:47 left in the first quarter, the Loggers held a modest 8-7 advantage over Adna, but a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers by Dalsted and Carter Whitehead signaled the beginning of the end for the Pirates. By the end of the quarter Onalaska had carved out a 24-11 lead and the game would never get any closer.
“We took what they gave us. We get those shots a lot in our offense and tonight we just happened to make a lot of them,” Nelson added.
Dalsted added seven rebounds and three assists to augment his impressive shooting display.
“His defense was good. He played well, shot it, I don’t think he missed one for quite awhile,” Nelson said of Dalsted.
Indeed, the junior guard connected on all six of his long range attempts in the first half and then kicked the third quarter off with another 3 for good measure. Meanwhile, Whitehead finished with 21 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Long after the game had ended Adna coach Luke Salme was still searching for the right words to express the inimitable feeling of running headlong into a buzzsaw on the hardwood at the most inopportune of times.
“It’s crazy. I have watched a lot of high school basketball but that feeling doesn’t happen very often. There was nothing that we could have done to win tonight and that’s crazy to say,” Salme explained. “It’s one of those nights where I knew what was going on but then I looked up at the scoreboard on the way to halftime and I saw the score 49-19 and I’m like, ‘Oh, okay. Wow. Let’s just figure out a way to compete the rest of the way.”
And compete the Pirates did to the very end. It just didn’t make much of a difference on the scoreboard as the Loggers stayed hot until fouls and substitutions altered the flow of the game in the fourth quarter.
Chase Collins scored a team-high 15 points for the Pirates. Braden Thomas added 12 points.
“In the grand scheme of things our kids compete and compete and compete, and that’s about one of the most important things you can learn as a high school athlete,” Salme said. “Tonight was just Onalaska’s night for some reason.”
The contest was the final showing for a half dozen accomplished Adna seniors including Thomas, Zander Blankenship-Todd, Cole Fay, Tyler Werner, Rodlofo Hernandez and Abel Ingle.
“I told them that in life things are going to happen that just don’t make sense, and these kids don’t deserve to take that as their last game,” Salme added.
With Dalsted scorching the nets all night it would be understandable if that’s all that spectators remembered. However, it should be noted that Kayden Allison was integral to that outside proficiency thanks to his dominance on the glass and around the paint. The 6-foot-2 junior finished the game with a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double. Ashton Haight notched 10 points in the win.
Onalaska will now have two opportunities to punch their ticket to the regional round. The first of those showdowns will be against Willapa Valley on Friday in Rochester at 6 p.m.