Hockinson boys basketball again state bound
The Hockinson boys basketball team will make a second consecutive trip to the Class 2A state tournament in Yakima because the Hawks won on the final day of the District 4 tournament for the second year in a row.
The story of Saturday’s 60-49 win over W.F. West of Chehalis was one of the Hawks seniors willing their way into the state tournament. Hockinson seized control of the game right at the point it appeared most vulnerable.
Top scorer Joshua Hall, a 6-6 junior, picked up a third foul early in the third quarter of a back-and-fourth battle. He went to the bench for the rest of the third period, and his teammates went on the run that decided the game.
The 11-2 run that put the Hawks up 40-31 included four points from post Cole Larson, a driving reverse layup by Dexter Kalliainen, and a layup by Christian Whiles off a feed from Mitch Tugaw. The burst was capped by perhaps the most significant of Tugaw’s three 3-pointers.
“The seniors really stepped up today with Josh in a bit of foul trouble,” Hockinson coach Adam Horn said.
“All year, we’ve played the best basketball when we’ve had balanced scoring and a lot of guys contributing in a variety of ways,” Horn said. “They responded to (Hall’s foul trouble) and stepped up their intensity.”
Defense was a big part of the result. Once the Hawks quieted the Bearcats’ transition offense, WFW resorted to mostly forcing drives into the key. There, the 6-6 Hall and the 6-5 Larson contested every shot.
Tuggaw noted that many of the Hawks seven seniors started playing together in the third grade.
“We knew we didn’t want it to end this week,” Tugaw said. “Now we want to go see if we can get a (state) trophy.”
Saturday’s game certainly didn’t start in encouraging fashion for the Hawks. The Bearcats took an early 14-6 lead. They led by only four at the end of the first quarter because of their own six turnovers and six second-chance points for the Hawks in the period.
In fact, rebounding was perhaps the most significant stat of the night. Hockinson outrebounded WFW 34-16, and outscored the Bearcats 14-0 on second-chance points.
Those effort plays reflected a maturity, and perhaps a desperation, that WFW lacked. A sophomore, Mitch Gueller, led the Bearcats with 16 points (on 5 for 14 shooting). Brock Wade, a 6-2 freshman forward who was all-conference and averaged almost 12 points per game, was held to six points.
Hockinson’s second consecutive appearance at the Class 2A state tournament — and third state trip in school history — will begin on Wednesday art the SunDome. Sometime on Sunday, the Hawks will learn the time and opponent for their first-round game.
Hockinson went two-and-out last season at state. In 2006, Hockinson’s first state team finished seventh at the SunDome.
— Paul Danzer