TENINO — A tough start offensively and a devastating rebounding disadvantage were enough to sink the Tenino boys basketball team in its first 1A Evergreen league loss of the season Wednesday night at Brock Court, 70-63, to Eatonville.
The Beavers — though able to make a game of it at the end — lost the battle on the glass, 54-43, and gave up 26 offensive rebounds in the loss.
Though Tenino shot a much better percentage from the floor, the story was Eatonville’s second-chance looks.
“We didn’t keep them in front of us,” Tenino coach Ryan Robertson said. “So we had to help and that affected how we rebounded. Our defense has a long way to go, we get worn out and you can see how tired they are … They played a lot more man than I expected, I didn’t do a good job getting my team prepared and I’ll take responsibility for that.”
The Beavers also struggled to find scoring outside of its top two guys in Noah Schow and Austin Gonia, who nearly carried them all the way to a comeback victory Wednesday night, bringing a 14-point end-of-third-quarter deficit to just two points midway through the fourth.
Schow scored a game-high 33 points to go along with 12 rebounds and Gonia added a double-double himself with 22 points and 16 boards.
Outside of those two, the Beavers scored just eight points.
“They manned us at the start and we should be comfortable with that,” Robertson said. “We get taken out of it sometimes mentally, we have to work on our trust. We need to share the ball and grow from this.”
Eatonville was led by senior guard Shay Brannon’s 24 points and 19 rebounds, leading four Cruisers in double figures. They relied on a fastbreak attack and quick offensive putbacks almost all night in the win, shooting 36% from the field and just four of 26 from 3-point land.
The Cruisers took 14 more shots than the Beavers and shot eight more free throws.
The Beavers will hope to rebound in another home contest this Friday against league rival Elma.
“These guys are battlers and competitors,” Robertson said. “They’re tough. They don’t know it all the time but they are. That’s what my job is to make them more confident and get them prepared.”