The night at Chehalis began with celebrations, and the celebrations continued after the tip-off, as the W.F. West boys basketball team ran past Centralia 67-43 in a bounceback win on senior night that left everyone in crimson and white feeling good about themselves.
The most newsworthy of the celebrations came six and a half minutes into the second quarter, when senior Soren Dalan took a feed from the perimeter and missed his shot, but came down with the offensive rebound — his eighth on the night, and the 674th of his W.F. West career, breaking the Bearcats’ all-time record.
The ball worked its way around to Braden Jones in the corner, who buried a 3-pointer, allowing coach Chris White to call a timeout and let the Bearcat bench — which had been counting amongst itself — to spill out and congratulate him.
“It’s amazing,” Dalan said. “It’s amazing. It’s awesome to have a great team and all that. It’s emotional.”
Dalan finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds, bringing his career total up to 680 boards for his career. The senior already holds WFW’s single-season rebound record at 321; currently he’s brought down 284 this season, with at least a few games left on the docket. That’s 14.9 per game, nearly a full rebound better than his clip last season, itself a program record.
On the points side of things, Dalan’s averaging 20.8 per game — currently on track for the third-best rate in school history. And on defense, he already owns the school blocks record, adding three more Tuesday to bring his total to 143.
“He’s one of the best ever to put on a Bearcat jersey,” White said. “We love what he’s been able to do, and we hope we can keep seeing him for a bunch more games on the floor.”
But while Dalan’s numbers came from his standard workmanlike approach, W.F. West had more to celebrate that might have been less expected.
For the final home game of the regular season, White sent out his four seniors to start, with Brian Anouma, Hunter Lutman, and Hunter Niemi joining Dalan and junior Tyler Klatush. But the feel-good gesture paid off with much larger dividends immediately, when Anouma took the game over for the night of his career.
The senior started the night off fast, drilling a 3-pointer straight off the tip-off for W.F. West’s first points of the night. By the end of the first quarter, he had nine points on three triples. Fast forward to the end of the night, and he put a fitting exclamation mark on the evening, taking the ball off a Tiger and going the other way with a right-handed slam that lit the WFW bench up.
In between, he racked up 18 points to share the team lead with Dalan, and added three rebounds.
“We know he’s got the ability, so it’s nice to see him have a massive, huge night,” White said. “That was cool, it was really fun.”
Niemi finished with five points — he and Anouma combined for the Bearcats’ first 14 of the game. Lucas Hoff added eight off the bench, with 10 W.F. West players finishing in the scoring column. Lutman didn’t score, but came down with four rebounds.
Cohen Ballard led Centralia with 16 points and five rebounds. Carlos Vallejo added 14 points. The Tigers’ best run came early to keep the deficit close at the end of the first quarter, but W.F. West got its groove going in the second to make it double-digits, and it would only get worse in the second half.
“I had five guys on the court for most of the game, and that’s kind of been our Achilles’ heel; we just don’t have that depth to keep that rotation up and keep legs fresh,'' Centralia coach Kyle Donahue said. “Our gameplan fell apart when we started standing.”
Centralia will wrap up its season at home for its own senior night Thursday, hosting Shelton. W.F. West, which snaps a three-game skid with the result tonight, will head to Aberdeen to wrap up its regular-season slate, hopefully with plenty of momentum and good feelings filling its sails.
“I think it sets us up,” Dalan said. “We’ve got one more league game, and we have to go after it with a vengeance at the Harbor.”