Riverhawks dominate down low, beat Vikings


MOSSYROCK — The energy inside Mossyrock’s gymnasium Thursday night certainly felt a lot more like the league contests the Vikings had with Toledo in years past — and will again, almost certainly, starting next year — than a normal Christmas break cross-classification matchup. But it was the Riverhawks going into enemy territory and pulling out a solid win, 65-45, in a loud and physical clash.

“They’re coming back (to the Central 2B League), which will be fun, competitive, proud, all that,” Toledo coach Grady Fallon said. “That was a great non-league game.”

And while the game felt a whole lot closer than the final 20-point gap suggests, it’s only because Riverhawks (7-3, 2-2 C2BL) dealt what turned out to be the crucial blow early.

“It was the energy, and playing physical,” Fallon said. “It’s kind of like the first person to get punched in the nose gets on their heels a little. I don’t know if we were that aggressive, but more aggressive than in the past.”

They did it with their defense, holding the Vikings to eight points in each of the first two quarters, and limiting Mossyrock star Zack Munoz to just two before halftime.

And they did it down low and on the glass, outrebounding their hosts 40-26 on the night. Eleven of those boards came on the offensive glass, the bulk of those in a second quarter when Toledo went a 23-8 run thanks to crucial second-chance points.

“That was our goal, to win the boards, and we definitely did that,” Fallon said.

Sophomore Cooper Fallon led the effort down low, logging 13 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks. He also dished out four assists, kicking the ball out for 3-pointers and hitting cutters from the top of the key to break down Mossyrock’s zone.

“That’s good basketball, inside-out,” Grady Fallon said. “He’s young in the post. He’s big, but he’s not like Shaq in there where he’s going to score if you throw it in there. He’s really good about kicking it out when he had the chance, and guys made shots.”

Kaven Winters led the Riverhawks with 19 points, and Rogan Stanley added 11. Behind Cooper Fallon, Christian Malunat came away with seven rebounds, and Winters and Adam Kruger both had five.

The big second quarter sent Toledo into the locker room up by 21, and they stretched it further in the early minutes of the third, but Mossyrock started to find its offense thanks to Munoz, who buried four 3-pointers in quick succession. 

Munoz finished with 15 points, Hunter Isom had 10 and Luke Cooper pitched in nine for Mossyrock.

“They played hard, and that says a lot about them,” Mossyrock coach Tom Kelly said. “We just couldn’t hit shots tonight.”

The Vikings ended up outscoring the Riverhawks in the second half, and held their guests without a field goal for the final five minutes, but Toledo made its free throws in a physical fourth quarter to keep the scoreline from ever getting as close as the game felt.

Toledo will hit the road to Portland for a date with Morton-White Pass at the Moda Center on Friday, before wrapping its calendar year up against Lake Quinault next Wednesday. Mossyrock will be off through Christmas, then go to Skagit County for a game against Lummi Nation at the Mount Vernon Holiday Classic next Thursday.