LONGVIEW — It’s starting to feel a bit different for the 2B No. 7 Adna boys basketball team.
With the district tournament less than a few weeks away, Monday night’s MLK Classic, 62-58, win over Chief Leschi at Lower Columbia College in Longview was the perfect late-season non-league contest against a district foe.
The Pirates prevailed, but learned yet another valuable lesson if they want to end up making it out of the dogfight that 2B District 4 has become over the years.
“We will have to be tougher in district to be one of the five teams to survive,” Adna coach Luke Salme said. “It’s great to get a W against them, but we didn’t look very tough several times.”
The Pirates went back and forth with the Warriors all evening, having a hard time getting any rhythm going offensively, but doing enough defensively to stay in the game until they finally could score in some spurts.
Though Adna wasn’t the toughest team for the entire 32 minutes, those few spurts where they bottled up that toughness were critical to gutting out a win in a district-type environment against a potential district foe. Entering Monday, the Warriors were the frontrunner in the 2B Pacific.
“It’s at a weird time in a weird gym,” Salme said. “That’s good for us. They have guys that can go, defend, and use all 90 feet of the court. Those guys play a lot of basketball, have guys that can make one-on-one plays, and they know how to defend bigger guys. It was physical and scrappy, and just the way the district tournament is going to be.”
Trailing by one at the end of three quarters, the Pirates started the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run, and built up a double-digit lead before the Warriors mounted a bit of a too-little, too-late rally.
Seth Meister scored a game-high 21 points, and Lane Johnson was critical inside, scoring 11 points and hauling in 16 rebounds, with 12 coming in the second half.
“We scored the majority of our points in the second half in the paint,” Salme said. “Lane was huge, it felt like every time we needed a rebound he got it. There were glimpses.”
Braeden Salme scored 11 points, and Asher Guerrero added nine off the bench, as well.
Chief Leschi was led by a well-rounded attack, with three players scoring in double figures and seven in total etching their names in the scorebook. Mickey Lara and Justin James scored 11 points a piece and Fred Lewis scored 10 to lead the Warriors.
Though the Pirates walked away winners, and as has been the case for Adna all season against some of the better teams in its district, Monday night again served as a reminder for the level of play needed to compete among the region’s best.
“The five toughest teams will get out of District 4,” Luke Salme said. “And we have to get tougher.”