TENINO — It was about the worst start Tenino could have wanted — and the best finish it could ask for.
Tenino fell into a 12-3 hole to start the game then exploded for a 20-4 run in the fourth quarter to complete a bleacher-thumping, 42-38 comeback victory over Rochester in the annual Scatter Creek Showdown Monday in both team’s season opener.
“A little bit of hard work, a little bit of heart and a little bit of defense is what got us back in it,” Tenino coach Joe Chirhart said.
The Beavers looked like they might get run out of their own gym in the first quarter after a disastrous start offensively that put them in a 12-3 hole.
The Warriors’ defense clamped down on everything Tenino threw at them early, creating turnovers and using them to create transition buckets. Offensively, for Rochester, junior Larenz Payne scored seven of the Warriors’ 12 points in the first quarter to help keep a comfortable lead. Payne would finish with a game-high 12 points.
Holding a 17-9 lead at the half, Rochester looked fully in control.
But the Beavers weren’t done. Freshman point guard Will Feltus knocked down two big 3-pointers in the start of the third quarter that helped spark a 7-2 run and cut the deficit to 19-16.
“Those were big 3s by Will Feltus,” Chirhart said.
The Beavers then began doing what they do best with their team that has five kids 6-foot-2 or taller: crashing the boards, feeding the post and slashing to the key.
“We’ve got some height and post is gonna be our strength this year,” Chihart said. “So if our guards knock down open jumpers when they get kicked out and then understand you feed the post when you can, it’s a good little blueprint.”
It worked as senior post Takari Hickle scored six of his seven points in the fourth quarter after getting into early foul trouble. Freshman Noah Schow, at 6-foot-3, also scored six of his 10 points in the second half.
Hickle and Schow cut the deficit to 38-36 with back-to-back buckets, part of a 14-2 run, with 2:58 to play. Then Hickle hit the go-ahead on an And-1 with 1:11 to go to give the Beavers their first lead of the game, in what was the eventual game winner.
Feltus finished with a game-high 12 points, Austin Gonia added eight and Jack Burkhardt chipped in five.
For Rochester, Tyler Klatush finished with 11 points, Sawyer Robbins had five and Landon Hawes added four.
Though the comeback was certainly satisfying for Chirhart, he said doing it against cross-freeway rival Rochester was an added bonus.
“You don’t ever want to start the season off with a loss but you definitely don’t want to lose that first one to your rival,” Chirhart said. “Winning the Scatter Creek Showdown’s always fun. Always love battling with Rochester. Always a great crowd and energy is always high. It was nice to come out on top.”