Down 17 points with six and a half minutes remaining in their Evergreen 2A Conference opener against Black Hills Tuesday, the last thing the Bearcats were thinking about was conceding the contest.

As such, W.F. West coach Chris White was a non-repententant recipient of a technical foul when he felt the need to come to his team’s defense. Over the next three minutes and change that spark from the bench took hold for the Bearcats as they managed to hold the Wolves scoreless while they attempted to claw back into contention.

The only problem was that W.F. West was able to muster just five points during that frantic series of slug-it-out action.

On the other side of that fourth quarter kerfuffle, Black Hills emerged a bit battered but holding a 53-40 victory over the Bearcats to open the season’s EvCo slate.

Needless to say, W.F. West is looking forward to a rematch down the road.

“I don’t like to get techs, but there was a lot of contact at halfcourt and my guys were getting exploded and I have a hard time swallowing that,” said White. “But my guys responded really well. I’m proud of their response. They played really hard. They were gritty. We were down Kayden Kelly, but we still played hard.”

Kelly, the Bearcats’ regular starting point guard, missed his second game in a row due to illness and the Wolves used their deep and talented backcourt to exploit W.F. West’s weakness. Turnovers hurt the home team all night and led to a flurry of transition opportunities for Black Hills. Moreover, the Bearcats seemed to have a hard time finding their playmakers in position to put points on the board.

Black Hills was paced on offense by guard Avery Armin, who notched 16 points. Zach Crumley added 10 points for the Wolves while Elyas Inman scored seven. The visitors shot 43 percent from the floor on 48 shots.

“They’re just well organized. They have nice athletes and good schemes,” White said. “They’re well coached.”

W.F. West was able to hang around early, trailing just 12-9 after one quarter. But the second and third quarters were unkind to the Bearcats as Black Hills went on a 33-18 streak. The Bearcats shot just 31 percent from the field on 51 shots.

Carter McCoy, a 6-foot-4 junior post player, led W.F. West with 14 points on 5 of 8 shooting. Tyler Speck added 11 points while Cade Haller, filling in at point guard, scored 9.

“We just lacked organization offensively. There were too many hollow possessions,” White said. “I wish we could have found Carter (McCoy) inside some more.”

The Bearcats (6-4, 0-1 league) will resume EvCo play on Thursday when they host Aberdeen.

Tigers Rout Rochester to Start EvCo Slate

Centralia entered Evergreen 2A Conference play in ideal fashion on Tuesday night, with 10 players scoring in a 79-48 blowout of Rochester on Ron Brown Court in the Hub City.

Matt House led the way with 23 points, Derek Beairsto added 15 with six boards and the Tigers started the game on a 17-0 lead.

“(We played) better than we have, that’s for certain,” Centralia coach Kyle Donahue said, noting his team had a solid practice on Monday after being worn out with back-to-back games to wrap last week. “We felt pretty good about coming into the game and kind of getting back into the swing of things, and we talked about trying to change the energy and the flow of the game.”

The approach worked, as the Tigers led 38-16 by halftime and went 31 of 58 from the field.

The shooting was an improvement, but Donahue pointed out that the defense was on the same level it’s been most of the season.

“We’ve held a lot of teams that are pretty good scoring teams to where we want to, but just, offensively we never got it going,” he said. “We used our transition game tonight to put points on the board, and then let it flow into our halfcourt game.”

The Tigers went 8 of 20 (40%) from long range, with House hitting five threes.

“He did a little bit of everything,” Donahue said of the senior guard. “He got a lot of good transition baskets, he attacked the basket at times, and he got hot in the third quarter and really put the game away for us at that point.”

Donahue added that he hopes the win can set the tone for the rest of the regular season, after the Tigers’ 1-9 start to the year.

“Obviously we wanted to come out into league and start off with a win, and we knew that on the schedule Rochester had struggled — which, we’d struggled this season too,” Donahue said. “And we knew if we’re going to compete in league, this was a must-win game for us.”

Benito Valencia added 12 points and seven rebounds, and Brandon Yeung came up from JV to hit a pair of late three-pointers.

Anthony Groninger led Rochester with 12 points. Caleb Vanderhoof added 10.

Centralia (2-9, 1-0 league) plays at Black Hills on Thursday. Rochester (0-10) plays at Tumwater on Thursday.

Vikings Pull Away From Pe Ell in 52-33 Win

PE ELL — The host Trojans kept things close for a half before falling, 52-33, to Willapa Valley here Tuesday night in Pacific 2B League boys basketball action.

Logan Walker led Willapa Valley with 16 points, and the Vikings held a 25-21 lead at the break.

“The first half was an excellent game,” Pe Ell coach Clape Lusk said. “We played really well.”

Valley, however, outscored the Trojans 27-12 the rest of the way.

“We weren’t hitting shots like we were in the first half,” Lusk said. “We just went cold. We’ve seemed to have that problem where we always have that one quarter where we go cold.”

Max Smith was a bright spot for Pe Ell, scoring 11 points with seven rebounds and six steals.

The Trojans went 12 of 51 from the field.

“My kids played really well on the defensive end,” Lusk said. “We’ve just got to find a way to be more effective on offense.”

Pe Ell (3-8, 2-7 league) will play at Ocosta on Friday.

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