Two games in a row now, the Tenino boys basketball team has not made it easy for coach Joe Chirhart’s blood pressure. But for the second-consecutive game, the Beavers gutted out a win, this time edging Rainier 37-35 in the annual Highway 507 Rivalry.
The victory comes just two nights after the Beavers completed a thrilling comeback win over Class 2A rival Rochester in their season opener Monday. It’s the first time in Chirhart’s nine years as head coach that the Beavers have beaten both their rivals in the same season.
And now, after back-to-back battles, they’re sitting at 2-0 on the season.
“It’s sure fun to win close games,” Chirhart said.
Like the season opener, it was a back-and-forth battle with the 2B Mountaineers, led by sharpshooter Ian Sprouffske.
The Beavers held Sprouffske to nine points while Tenino senior Takari Hickle took over with a game-high 15 points and 16 rebounds, which included seven offensive boards.
“Takari led the charge,” Chirhart said.
Austin Gonia, who scored seven points for the Beavers, was praised for his defensive effort, as well as Brody Noonan.
It was a relieving victory for a Tenino team that turned the ball over 27 times and hit just 7 of 23 from the charity stripe. But the Beavers held strong in the fourth quarter to preserve the win.
“Two teams that play hard,” Chirhart said. “It was a fun matchup.”
Tenino (2-0) heads to Winlock for a 7 p.m. matchup on Friday. Rainier (0-1) hosts Toutle Lake on Thursday.