KELSO — Bulldozer, machine, absolutely unguardable. All words you could use to describe Josh Salguero’s performance for Morton-White Pass as the Timberwolves held on for a 59-51 2B District IV semifinal win against Adna Wednesday night in Kelso.
But perhaps the simplest way to put it into words, was done by his head coach.
“Josh was just Josh, he does what he does,” MWP coach Chad Cramer said.
The post scored a game-high 24 points and hauled in 17 rebounds in a crushing performance, vaulting the Timberwolves into the district championship game against Kalama on Saturday at W.F. West High School.
The win also means the Timberwolves are regional-bound for the first time since 2018.
“This group of seniors, they’ve had some bad luck with COVID and everything else,” Cramer said. “For them, it’s gotta feel good. I’m ecstatic for our seniors, we’ve grown up together, for us to make it, I’m over the moon for them. They’ve earned it.”
The T-Wolves got off and running early, building up a double digit lead early, and leading 49-32 after three quarters, thanks to Salguero’s dominance inside and enough scoring elsewhere sprinkled in.
Gary Dotson also finished in double figures with 12 points, and eight rebounds.
But then the Pirates made their move. Trailing all game, and struggling with their 3-ball, Adna hit on its layups and forced several MWP turnovers, starting the fourth quarter on a 15-2 run that made it a four-point game with minutes remaining.
But another slew of missed open looks, and some tight defense from the Timberwolves effectively ended the game in the final minutes.
The Pirates will play Toutle Lake in a placement round play-in game Friday at W.F. West, missing out on a district championship chance.
“I’m proud of our fight, sometimes it comes down to making shots,” Pirates coach Luke Salme said. “They’re size and length and athleticism gives us enough issues on both ends, but we got plenty of good looks at 3s and we didn’t make enough of them.”
The Pirates made three shots from deep all night, and senior leader and sharpshooter Chase Collins had just two points. Adna was led by a couple of double figure scorers however, led by Braeden Salme’s 15 points, and Lane Johnson and Seth Meister’s 10.
Before the game, MWP guard Kysen Collette had been begging Cramer to guard Collins all season, and finally, with all his cards on the table, Cramer relented. It paid dividends Wednesday night.
“He gave me the look, he’s earned that right, and he proved he was true to his word,” Cramer said. “He bothered him all game long, and it’s not just him. We were switching every screen, so every player guarded every guy, we did a great job.”
For the Pirates, though, their season is not over. They still have a chance to earn a regional bid with a win over the Ducks on Friday, and even if they falter again, would have another chance in the fifth/sixth place game. But the Pirates want to take care of business on Friday.
“We’re hitting two of those open 3s away from probably winning that game,” Salme said. “That’s a really good team, I’m bummed we’re not playing Saturday night for the big one, but I’m proud of the kids and all of our goals that we set out before the year started are still in front of us.”
The district championship between the Chinooks and Timberwolves with be played in Chehalis on Saturday at 8 p.m.