Balanced Bearcats earn Swamp Cup victory over Tigers


W.F. West came to play in the first edition of this season’s Swamp Cup, as the Bearcats hit seven 3-pointers in the first half and rolled to a 76-59 win over Centralia, their 13th straight win over the Tigers.

“It’s always fun to win the rivalry stuff,” W.F. West coach Chris White said.

Five Bearcats finished the game in double figures, led by Lucas Hoff, who scored 17.

Hoff had the hot hand early, hitting three times from beyond the arc to help the Bearcats open up a 21-5 lead. Tyler Klatush added a pair of his own from deep, while Braden Jones and Trenton Schoepf also got in on the action.

“It was nice to see that,” White said. “Those guys shot it well.”

When the Bearcats (8-3, 5-0 2A EvCo) weren’t hitting from deep, they were having their way inside, using their size to create open looks near the basket.

Grady Westlund, a 6-foot-5 junior, scored 11 points in the first half, and Parker Eiswald, a 6-foot-7 senior, scored eight in the second.

Because of their size disadvantage, Centralia (3-10, 1-4 2A EvCo) turned to the long ball, and they were able to stay within striking distance because of their efficiency on 3-pointers. The Tigers hit 11 threes on the night, led by Landon Jenkins, who hit five. 

Centralia coach Kyle Donahue said that the Tigers knew that they wouldn’t be able to get the ball inside, and he was pleased with how they were still able to score in bunches.

“We knew we had to get the ball out quick, get it downcourt, and put up some shots,” Donahue said. “I thought we had a lot of good looks … I was happy with the shot selection tonight.”

While the Tigers were able to find ways around the size mismatch with their shooting, they had a much harder time when it came to the rebound battle.

The Bearcats dominated on the boards, out rebounding the Tigers 37-18, including 13 offensive rebounds that extended several possessions.

“That was the big difference in the game right there,” Donahue said. “We just couldn’t match up with them down low, and we couldn’t match up with them on the boards.”

Westlund led the Bearcats with 12 rebounds and also blocked three shots, while Eiswals hauled in seven rebounds. Klatush and Gage Brumfield dished out seven assists each.

The Tigers were also balanced offensively, as four of them finished in double figures. Jenkins finished with a game-high 19 points, Cohen Ballard scored 17, and Aidan Haines and Von Wasson added 10 each.

The Bearcats are off until Wednesday, when they will put their unbeaten league record on the line at Tumwater, the only other unbeaten team in the EvCo. Centralia is also out of action until Wednesday, when they will also head north to face Black Hills.