Rainier Bounces Back, Ousts Toledo in District Consolation Rounds


TUMWATER — Carrying over the frenetic energy and defense from a physical 2B District 4 quarterfinal against Morton-White Pass on Wednesday, the Rainier boys basketball team responded in a loser-out contest in the consolation rounds against Toledo Friday night at Black Hills, 68-40. 

The game was a back-and-forth foul-fest in the first half — with the Mountaineers making just a couple more shots than the Riverhawks to take a five-point lead into the half — until a 23-10 third quarter run saw Rainier separate for good to keep its season alive. 

It’s Rainier’s third win over Toledo this season, with the Riverhawk loss knocking them out of the district tournament. 

“It’s hard to beat anybody three times,” Rainier coach Ben Sheaffer said. “I think our guys have a resiliency and a chip on their shoulder, it's not about the opponent, it's about us and we’re really starting to believe that.”

The Mountaineers capitalized off over 20 Toledo turnovers for easy fastbreak lay-ins, with Hunter Howell leading the way with his game-high 15 points. Jake and Josh Meldrum each added 13 and 11 points, respectively, as well. 

Those three led in scoring, but it was a collective effort Friday night, with all seven of the Mountaineers’ rotation players scoring at least six points and leading the charge defensively. 

“It starts on the defensive end,” Sheaffer said. “We have some guys flying around out there that I don’t think anyone wants guarding them in the full court … We try to create our game, baseline to baseline. These guys enjoy playing it and we lean on our conditioning.”

Rainier will play Raymond in another loser-out game at Castle Rock next Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

The Riverhawks, meanwhile, just couldn’t get out of their own way in the second half. 

Attacking the offensive glass for putbacks helped Toledo keep pace for a half, but the well dried up in the second half, and the Riverhawks had more turnovers than shot attempts in the final two frames. 

“Turnovers have plagued us all year,” Toledo coach Grady Fallon said. “Unless we can keep it between 10-15, we don’t give ourselves a chance to win. The first half wasn't too bad, but we had too many in the second half.”

Kaven Winters led Toledo with 13 points, and Rogan Stanley had a 12-point, 13-rebound double-double to help lead the scoring effort. In his final game, Conner Olmstead had nine points and 10 rebounds for the Riverhawks. 

Fallon made sure to give his seniors some props, and expressed remorse that he couldn’t get them all the way to the state tournament in their final seasons for Toledo. 

Olmstead, Carson Gould, and Geoffrey Glass all played for Toledo for the final time Friday night. 

“I’m disappointed that I can’t give them that experience that every kid hopes for at the state tournament,” Fallon said. “When you have to look at them and give them a hug on their last night, you want them to have everything they could. I told them all I’m proud of them. This is a great team and was fun to coach.”