Centralia mounted a fourth-quarter comeback, but a big second-half performance from Matt House wasn’t quite enough in a 58-55 loss to Montesano in a non-league boys basketball game in the Hub City Thursday night.
The Tigers trailed 45-39 after three quarters.
“Defensively, we just played really solid,” Centralia coach Kyle Donahue said. “We got our hands on a lot of passes, and we shot the ball from outside pretty well.”
House, a senior guard, scored 18 second-half points — all from beyond the three-point arc — to help lead an early fourth-quarter surge for Centralia. That run included three straight possessions with a three-pointer, which gave the Tigers a late lead.
The Bulldogs, however, ultimately pulled ahead with a three of their own to take a one-point lead, and cashed in enough late free throws to seal the win.
“We competed,” Donahue said. “We kind of really dug in and grinded it out there in the fourth quarter.”
House, he added, was a bright spot.
“He got on a nice little hot streak at the end of the game,” Donahue said, noting that the guard has been battling an ankle injury most of the season. “He’s been a lot healthier this last week, so we’ve been trying to get him the ball and get him some loks, and he knocked down some shots late in the game.”
Benito Valencia added seven points for Centralia, and Jeremy Wood chipped in five points and a team-high seven rebounds.
“He had a really good floor game for us,” Donahue said of Wood. “He’s just a guy that you’ve got to have on the court because, defensively, he works so hard and gets his hands on a lot of passes. He really is kind of our floor general out there, defensively.”
Wesley Bjornsgard led Montesano with 16 points. Trace Ridgway added 12 and Braden Dohrmann scored 10 for the Bulldogs.
“It was a really good game for us, going in and getting prepared for league,” Donahue said, “to be in a close game and to be competing for four quarters, to be able to go into practice and learn from as we go into league play.”
Centralia (1-8) plays at Woodland on Friday, and the Tigers host Rochester on Tuesday to start Evergreen 2A Conference play.