Hilanders pull away from Bearcats in Longview


LONGVIEW — Through one quarter of play, W.F. West and Kelso seemed to be in the early stages of a fast-paced, high-flying shootout.

Both offenses were scoring at will, combining for 35 points and just three fouls. While the Kelso offense kept rolling into the second and beyond, the W.F. West offense slowed down, and the Hilanders pulled away for a 76-57 win.

“I feel like we didn’t sputter as much, but then we did get plagued with a lot of turnovers,” W.F. West coach Chris White said. “And a great transition game by them that just embarrassed us. We just didn’t get back. They really get out at a special speed.”

Whenever the Bearcats (8-6, 5-1 2A EvCo) seemed to get some momentum, there was a costly turnover that quickly turned into points on the other end.

At one point in the third quarter, the Bearcats were within two points, but a string of turnovers quickly led to a 14-3 Kelso run that pushed the lead to double-digits.

At times, the Bearcats were able to settle in and run an offense, which led to some positive possessions, but it wasn’t enough to keep up.

“We did a good job of processing chaos out there,” White said. “Lots of growing moments, just gotta get home, get some sleep, get back to sleep and get back on track.”

The most positive moment of the night was for Tyler Klatush, who crossed the 1,000-point mark in his career with 16 points on the night.

White, who is in his ninth year at W.F. West, says Klatush is the first player of his to hit the thousand mark, and he shared a moment with Klatush after the game.

“I’ve never had a guy go for a thousand, so I’m so proud of him,” White said. “It’s really a heck of an accomplishment and it doesn’t happen to too many guys … He’s a bucket.”

Parker Eiswald scored 12, while Lucas Hoff and Grady Westlund added nine each. Westlund was another positive for the Bearcats, as he also hauled in a team-high 14 rebounds.

“Grady’s really improving his game a ton,” White said.

While the Bearcats have now lost three straight, White is remaining optimistic moving forward, noting that tougher games against White River and Kelso can be used as stepping stones moving forward.

“That’s why you schedule games like this, so you can grow,” White said. “That’s why you schedule games like this, so you can grow. It’s a good task for us. We just came up short.”

The Bearcats are back on the court on Tuesday, when they’ll head to Shelton.