Tigers can’t keep up in opening loss to Hockinson


The first four minutes of the Centralia boys basketball team’s 2023-24 season looked about as bright as possible, but the good times wouldn’t last, as Hockinson ran away from the Tigers in an 85-48 rout.

“We came out with good energy, and then lost it in transition,” Centralia coach Kyle Donahue said. “They ran, and we didn’t run with them. We missed a lot of easy (shots) which allowed them to get the ball out and go. It just kind of spiraled from there. We kind of got down a little bit and lost guys defensively.”

Centralia jumped out to a 6-0 lead early, and didn’t let Hockinson find the basket for over four minutes from the opening tip. But once the Hawks finally got a bucket, they went to work, forcing turnovers and scoring off them on three straight possessions to take the lead, and hitting another shot in transition off a giveaway at the buzzer to go ahead for good.

Midway through the second quarter, the Tigers (0-1) had kept the deficit to just three at 18-15, but for the remaining 21 minutes of gametime, the Hawks doubled their hosts up.

“We’ve clearly got a lot of stuff defensively to work on going forward,” Donahue said.

Cohen Ballard led all scorers with 27 points, going 10 for 17 from the field with six 3-pointers. 

The rest of the team, though, combined for just seven field goals, and as a group, the Tigers went 6 for 15 from the free-throw line. Landen Jenkins had six points. 

“Cohen is a tough player, and we want the ball in his hands a lot,” Donahue said. “But we’ve got to have other guys step up, too.”

David Daarud led the Tigers with six rebounds, and added four points in the post. As a team, Centralia gifted Hockinson 23 turnovers.

The Tigers will be right back in action Tuesday, with a trip to the coast to play 2B Ilwaco.