DISTRICTS: Whitehead Scores 17 as Onalaska Eliminates Rainier, 62-28
By Aaron VanTuyl
For The Chronicle
The Loggers’ last matchup against Rainier was Feb. 6, just 11 days before the teams’ District 4 2B Boys Basketball Tournament consolation contest.
The stakes were just a bit higher Monday in Chehalis — and the 62-28 final score reflected what was at stake for senior-heavy Onalaska.
“We’re done after this,” Logger guard Carter Whitehead said. “So we came out here and played our hearts out.”
That was particularly evident on the defensive end. Onalaska held Rainier without a field goal for a 14-minute stretch from late in the first quarter to late in the third quarter, and over that span turned a five-point lead into a 47-17 advantage.
“That’s good,” Onalaska coach Wayne Nelson said. “You can win some ballgames if that happens.”
It was a big change from that Feb. 6 game, which the Loggers won 47-39.
“I think our defensive effort was more consistent the whole game,” Nelson said, noting there was no particular change in scheme. “We play the same way all the time. I just thought our guys played hard and did what they’re supposed to do.”
Whitehead, who scored a game-high 17 points, agreed.
“I think we all, all five of us, played defense,” Whitehead said. “But we talked about it yesterday, and went over their sets, and knew what we had to do.”
Onalaska led 20-11 after a quarter and gave up just a free throw in the second quarter. Kayden Allison scored nine of his 15 points in the second for the Loggers, helping push the lead to 35-12 at the break.
Ashton Haight and Cade Lawrence each added 13 points for Onalaska, which shot 27 of 57 (47 percent from the field).
The Loggers kept the pressure on in the second half, getting back-to-back 3s from Lawrence and Whitehead to push the lead to 62-21 with 5:25 left in the fourth quarter and activate the 40-point running clock.
“We ran the ball a little bit and moved the ball well on offense against their zone, which we didn’t always do last time,” Nelson said. “I just thought fundamentally, we played pretty well.”
Onalaska also outrebounded Rainier 25-13, with Allison grabbing eight boards.
“They’re senior-heavy. They’ve been here and they’re experienced,” Rainier coach Jeremy Landram said of Onalaska. “They smacked us in the face, and we didn’t really respond as well as we should have.”
The win means the Loggers (17-6) face Adna (13-10) on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Castle Rock in another loser-out game. Onalaska won both of the teams’ regular-season games, 58-50 and 54-51.
“I like our guys,” Nelson said. “We’ve already played them twice, and that’s a pretty good rivalry between those two schools, so it shouldn’t be any trouble getting up for that.”
The Mountaineers, meanwhile, finish the season with an 11-12 record.
“It sucks right now, but as far as the growth from begging to the end, it was really good,” Landram said. The Mountaineers went 3-17 in the 2018-19 season, and beat Chief Leschi in the pigtail round to enter the double-elimination portion of the district tournament.
“It’s just an unfortunate ending,” he said. “You’d like to play your best basketball and lose rather than play like we did today, which was not characteristic of what we usually play like.”
Mikey Green led Rainier with nine points and Ian Sprouffske added eight.
The Mountaineers graduate just one senior in Colby Davis.
“He just busts his butt,” Landram said of Davis. “He’s a joy to coach. He’s always a ‘yes coach,’ ‘no coach’ guy. We’ll miss the chemistry he brought to the team.”
ROCHESTER — Braden Thomas exploded for a game-high 35 points and the Pirates put themselves one step closer to securing a state playoff spot with a 64-53 victory over Northwest Christian (Lacey) in the District 4 2B boys tournament Monday.
Adna (13-10) will face the winner of Willapa Valley-Chief Leschi at 6 p.m., Tuesday, at Castle Rock High School in a loser-out contest. The winner will need to win one of two games to secure a regional playoff spot.
Against NWC, the Pirates ripped off an 18-8 run to start the game, were outscored 16-12 in the third quarter, but maintained their lead the entire contest. The Pirates have now won three of their last four with their lone loss coming to Ilwaco at districts on Feb. 13.
Zander Blankenship-Todd and Chase Collins each added 10 points for the Pirates, while Tyler Minkoff chipped in five and Cole Fay four.
The Pirates shot 49 percent from the floor, including 10 of 20 from long range. Thomas hit four of six 3-pointers on the day.
Northwest Christian’s (17-6) season came to an end. The Wolverines were led by Jude Phillips’ 20 points and Noah Phillips’ 14.
ROCHESTER — The Timberwolves had a chance in the final seconds here Monday, but ultimately came up just short in a 43-42 loss to Ocosta in the consolation round of the District 4 2B Boys Basketball Tournament.
Morton-White Pass scored 19 fourth-quarter points and tied the game late in the fourth, after trailing 32-23 heading into the final frame. Ocosta missed a free throw with 9.8 seconds left and the Timberwolves took the ball straight up the court for a last attempt at pulling out a win.
“We wanted to attack without them getting their defense set, and it didn’t materialize,” MWP coach Chad Cramer said. “But we shouldn’t have been in that position anyways. We’ve got to make our free throws and things like that to give ourselves a chance.”
The T-Wolves went 6 of 15 at the foul line in the loss.
Hayden Young led MWP with 14 points, and Kysen Collette chipped in nine.
Cole Hatton led Ocosta with 15 points.
The Timberwolves found themselves in early foul trouble at the guard position, which led to Ocosta applying pressure and pulling ahead in the second and third quarters.
“We finally started trapping and doing some pressing, and kind of went for broke there,” Cramer said of his team’s fourth-quarter resurgence. “We took the lead late, but ultimately we did not shoot it well at all today.”
Morton-White Pass finished the season with a 12-11 record, after going 7-3 in the Central 2B League with a young roster. The Timberwolves started three sophomores and a freshman most of the season.
“Overall, I was really proud of the strides we made. Our young guys made huge strides,” Cramer said. “And the future’s bright for us, so it’ll be good expectations coming back next year.”
It was the final game for MWP seniors Young, Hunter Holmes and Elliott Smith.
“[We had] absolute dedication from all three of those guys. They never missed a thing we did over those four years,” Cramer said of his seniors. “They carried themselves on the court admirably, they never brought any negative energy with them when they came and they did a good job.”
Ocosta (12-11) plays Wahkiakum on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. in Castle Rock in another loser-out game.