Previewing the 2A District 4 Boys Basketball Tournament


2A Evergreen Conference

By Eric Trent /

Tumwater secured the 2A Evergreen Conference title on Feb. 4 after easily handling Shelton on senior night. Their lone league loss came at the hands of EvCo runner-up W.F. West, which snapped the T-Birds’ eight-game win streak at the time.

The Thunderbirds, ranked as high as No. 5 in the Associated Press state basketball poll this season, are led by junior sharpshooter Luke Brewer, who broke the school’s single-game, 3-point record with 10 treys in a win over Columbia River in December.

The junior-laden T-Birds also see big offensive output from Andrew Collins and Brayden Oram, while senior post Ryan Otton (6-foot-6) — a University of Washington football signee — provides size and power in the post.

W.F. West locked up the conference’s No. 2 seed with a dismantling of Rochester during senior night on Feb. 4. The Bearcats were on a six-game win streak before getting edged by Black Hills in the second-to-last game of the regular season.

The Bearcats are led by senior Dirk Plakinger, a high-flying, 6-foot-4 wing who’s known around the league for thunderous, bleacher-shaking dunks. His most recent was an alley-oop slam on senior night. He’s averaging 18.2 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks per game.

Junior Soren Dalan is a 6-foot-10, double-double machine, who is a matchup nightmare down low. He averaged 14.9 points, 14.4 rebounds and three blocks per game in the regular season.

Senior guard Seth Hoff, a track star, has had a breakout second-half of the season, earning a starting spot and helping the Bearcats break the program’s single-game, team 3-point record with 13 treys on Jan. 28.

Black Hills, which most recently upset W.F. West in a comeback thriller on senior night, Feb. 3, finished third in the conference with an 8-4 league record.

The Wolves are led by junior guard Johnnie Stallings and senior guard Luke Ellison. Keegan Rongen and Andre Byoune are also consistent, double-digit scorers as well and the Wolves have the ability to keep up with any team.

Their biggest win of the year came on the road at Shelton with Ellison’s buzzer-beating shot. He finished with 32 points that game.

Shelton’s best league win was against W.F. West, but the Highclimbers were swept by Tumwater and Black Hills to finish fourth in league.

The Highclimbers are led by 6-foot-4 wing senior Charles Thompson, who’s averaging 17.4 points per game. Their No. 2 threat is a big one in 6-foot-8 senior Tyler Ireland, who has provided 13.6 points per game of firepower with an inside presence.

Centralia (6-11, 4-8 EvCo) finished fourth in the league after struggling with turnout issues. Though undermanned and lacking depth, the Tigers still secured six wins, mostly due to 6-foot-4 senior standout Landon Kaut, one of the top players in the conference.

Rochester placed fifth in league and finished with more wins (four) than the previous two years combined. Still in rebuild mode, the Warriors were led by sophomore Tyler Klatush, while senior Tony Groninger was the team’s No. 2 scoring option.

Aberdeen came in last in the EvCo, winning just two games all year and only one in league play (against Rochester). The Bobcats were led by Andrew Troeh who, during one game, accounted for 70% of the Bobcats’ points.

2A Greater St. Helen’s League

R.A. Long was the toast of the 2A GSHL this season, rattling off their second consecutive undefeated league title with relative ease. Their closest contests were an overtime victory at Ridgefield and a back and forth drama with Mark Morris in their first meeting this season that the Jacks wound up winning by 13 after scoring 39 points in the fourth quarter.

Aaron Ofstun is the big anchor in the middle for the RAL, using his 6’8” frame to swat shots away from the rim and registering about two boom-shaka-laka dunks per contest. A sore ankle has hobbled the big fellow in the second half of the season but a 24-point performance against Mark Morris in their final league game seemed to indicate that he’s back and ready to jam. Cavin Holden is the razzle to Ofstfun’s dazzle, leading the Lumberjacks in scoring on the season with a barrage of long distance connections that regularly stretch to logo range. That attack allowed RAL to average close to 80 points per game in the regular season with an average margin of victory of more than 30 points.

R.A. Long, ranked third in the final AP poll of the season, will play Shelton in the first round. The winner of that game will advance to the quarterfinals against Mark Morris or W.F. West.

Ridgefield was the surprise of the GSHL this season and lived on the edge of the AP top-ten poll for their efforts. The Spudders were the only 2A team to put a scare into R.A. Long this season and they managed the rare feat of knocking off Mark Morris twice. Aside from that loss to the Jacks and a jarring defeat at the hands of Woodland in their final league contest, the Spuds only other regular season loss came at the hands of W.F. West way back on Dec. 1.

Henry Hughes led Ridgefield in scoring with 15 points per game, but Sid Bryant  can be just as dangerous when he gets the ball in the post. Like Bryant, Nate Semlick measures 6’4” but he prefers to get the ball on the wing to help open up lanes for his teammates to work. It remains to be seen if a loss to Woodland in their final game of the regular season is a harbinger of things to come.

Ridgefield will face Black Hills in the opening round. The winner of that game will play either Woodland of Tumwater.

Mark Morris had a perfectly fine season by most standards but fell far short of their own expectations after getting swept in their league meetings by both R.A. Long and Ridgefield.

Still, the Monarchs finished in third place in the GSHL and defeated W.F. West 57-45 on Dec. 11 in a District preview at the old Rose Garden in Portland.

Kobe Parlin led the MM offense this season with 19 points per game coming from nearly every spot on the court. Point guard Braydon Olson averaged 16 points per game and tends to go off in spurts by attacking defenders off the dribble once they’ve lost their wind midgame. Oh, and he set the Mark Morris program record for three-pointers in a game this season with nine against Hockinson. Deacon Dietz is the third Monarch to average double digit scoring and typically handle the toughest defensive assignments. When things went right this year MM won by an average of 16 points while averaging just under 68 points per contest.

Mark Morris will open the playoffs against W.F. West. The winner of that game will advance to play either R.A. Long or Shelton in the quarterfinals.

Woodland is a young team with a high ceiling that has improved steadily throughout the season. A win over Ridgefield in their regular season finale put the Beavers on the map as a District team to watch.

Beau Swett powers the Woodland offense with around 17 points per game. Dane Huddleston is a long range threat for the Beavers, averaging 14 points per game while setting the Woodland all-time mark for three-pointers in a game with eight against Washougal on his way to a 31 point game. Justin Philpot and Cole Logan do the dirty work for Woodland around the paint and gives the Beavers the kind of grit that makes them hard to get rid of.

Woodland will play Tumwater in the first round. The winner of that game will advance to play either Black Hills or Ridgefield in the quarterfinals. 

Columbia River was the fifth place team in the GSHL and qualified for the pigtail play-in game before falling to Shelton on a last-second shot on Thursday. Washougal, Hockinson, Hudson’s Bay and Fort Vancouver rounded out the bottom of the league standings.