Monarchs Jump on W.F. West Early in First-Round Win


The Monarchs are an aggressive, guard-heavy team, which presents a challenge for squad that tends to focus on its interior play — like, for example, W.F. West.

That matchup issue was painfully apparent Saturday afternoon in Chehalis. Mark Morris (15-7) pounded on the Bearcats from the opening tipoff, running out to a 13-0 lead and never looking back in a 73-44 win to open the 2A District 4 boys basketball tournament.

“We’re a pretty good team, and you sure wouldn’t know it today,” Bearcat coach Chris White said. “It’s just a matchup problem.”

Dirk Plakinger scored 17 to pace W.F. West (12-8), which drops into the consolation round and faces Shelton on Tuesday in a loser-out game.

Mark Morris’ three-headed backcourt — Deacon Dietz, Kobe Parlin and Braydon Olson — did most of the damage, with Dietz and Parlin each scoring 15 points and Olson adding 14. 

“They’ve got pretty good guards, and guards are at the point of attack,” he said. “Typically, teams with really good guards are in pretty good position to do some good things, and they really exploited us right away.”

The trio also paced a defense that forced 14 first-half turnovers to keep the W.F. West offense off-kilter.

“I was just really disappointed in the composure there. We were deliberate on not using ball fakes, and they were jumping passing lanes, and really made us look foolish,” White said. “Just in the basic fundamentals, we looked really rough.”

Complicating matters was a difficult shooting night. The Bearcats only hit one 3-pointer and went 9 of 23 from the foul line.

“We missed a lot of bunnies, too,” White noted.

The Monarchs led 23-9 after a quarter, then opened the second from on an 8-0 run and pushed the advantage to 36-17 by halftime.

The Bearcats opened the second half with a pair of quick buckets, but Mark Morris took a quick timeout and responded with six straight points to regain the momentum.

Six-foot-10 post Soren Dalan added 11 points for W.F. West, but was limited in the first half due to foul trouble. 

W.F. West got a boost off the bench from junior Joe Mathews, who added eight second-half points.

“That was a good game for Mathews,” White said, adding that the forward was delivering on the promise he’d showed as a rebounder early in the season before he was sidelined with an injury.

Guard Evan Tornow also played well, White added.

“It wasn’t pretty, but he did a good job of just staying mentally tough,” he said. 

W.F. West and Shelton face off Tuesday night at a site to be determined. The Bearcats won the teams’ first regular-season matchup, 60-49, in Chehalis on Dec. 8, but lost 58-38 in Shelton in January.

“We’re a pretty resilient bunch,” White said. “We’ll come back and put our best foot forward and try to battle.”