TUMWATER — Montesano might have been the smaller school in technical terms of enrollment and classification, but on the court it was a whole other matter, and the Tumwater girls basketball team couldn’t find the answer for the Bulldogs’ height and length in a 37-21 loss Thursday.
“They controlled the tempo tonight,” Tumwater coach Nathan Buchheit said. “That was the biggest thing. Their zone caused us a lot of fits, credit to them. We just didn’t see many shots fall. They were able to get their zone set a lot of the time, and that just caused us a lot of fits.”
The Thunderbirds (7-2, 4-0 2A EvCo) had little trouble getting the ball, forcing 19 turnovers in the first half and 30 on the night. But once they had it, they could do much with it. Tumwater finished a paltry 19% from the field on 9-for-48 shooting, and didn’t get to the free-throw line until the penultimate minute of the fourth quarter.
Tumwater’s best offense came directly from its defense, with 12 of its first 16 points coming in transition. But once the T-Birds had to break out of the fastbreak, Montesano’s zone — with the Bulldogs having an advantage of at least a few inches in wingspan across the lineup on their hosts — wreaked havoc. Even when the Thunderbirds got open looks, they had to be sped up and rushed, and Tumwater ended up making just three buckets out of half-court sets, and went 0 for 12 from beyond the arc.
With first-team all-2A EvCo Kylie Waltermeyer back on the bench in a boot, Regan Brewer led the offensive charge with 12 points. All but two of those came off of turnovers, most of which she caused; the junior scrapped her way to 13 steals for a double-double, and also hustled down nine rebounds.
“You can’t teach what she does,” Buccheit said. “She’s very active, she has a high motor, she’s willing to fly around, and she thrives off of trying to make it really tough on the opposing team.”
Brewer — and the rest of Tumwater’s pesky press — kept Montesano from getting the ball to its bigs down low as much as they could, but slowly the Bulldogs started to muscle out buckets. With the Thunderbirds focusing on containing Minnesota-bound senior McKynnlie Dalan, her sister, freshman Evanjillie Dalan found plenty of open spaces en route to a 20-point night.
“She was getting a lot of easy buckets around the basket,” Buchheit said. “We weren’t physical enough with her.”
The younger Dalan scored eight of Montesano’s 10 first-quarter points, while the Thunderbirds couldn’t crack their way onto the scoreboard for the first four minutes of play.
Two Brewer steal-and-scores in quick transition to start the second quarter leveled the score at 10-10, and she nearly had a third, but her layup attempt after stealing an inbound pass rolled in and out. From there, the Bulldogs ripped off a 9-0 run to end the half, started the third on a 6-2 streak, and never looked back.
Tumwater is set to host Cedar Park Christian School next Wednesday in one last non-league game before the calendar flips over.