After holding on to the lead the entire night in a defensive battle Monday in Chehalis, the W.F. West boys basketball team let Ridgefield crawl back into the game, and eventually take a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter of its season opener.
But thanks to some late heroics from a couple of newcomers, the Bearcats defeated the Spudders, 45-39, to open their season with a quality win.
“Game one sets the tone for how you feel, it was really awesome,” Bearcats coach Chris White said. “We had to problem-solve a bit. I thought we were really stingy in the first half other than a few moments.”
Soren Dalan was a force through three quarters, almost single-handedly carrying the Bearcat offense up to that point with 19 of W.F. West’s 29 total points. The senior didn’t score in the fourth, but finished with another 19-point, 17-rebound game in the win.
New point guard Tyler Klatush made the plays late to seal the victory for the Bearcats, hitting a 3-pointer from the corner at the shot clock buzzer and then getting a fastbreak bucket moments later to stretch the Bearcat lead to six with a minute to go.
After the Spudders responded with a trey, Klatush drove baseline and tossed a perfect pass to Parker Eiswald, who drilled the game-clincher from the corner.
Klatush finished with seven points and a game-high seven assists in the win, and Gage Brumfield added nine points for the Bearcats.
“We want him to look for his shots once in a while, so it was fun to see him take over a bit, that was his time,” White said of Klatush. “He’s really shifty and he should hunt his shot all the time because it keeps the offense balanced. He’s so savvy. He’s got that shiftiness and his IQ is high.”
In a rematch of a district loser-out game a year ago — which the Bearcats pulled out to make it to the regional round of state — W.F. West came back and opened the season with its second straight win over a quality Spudders team that should challenge once again for a state bid.
The Bearcats will look to keep it rolling against Rochester on Tuesday.