Napavine opens postseason with dominant win over Ilwaco


Just four minutes into the 2B District 4 quarterfinal on Tuesday, it was clear that Napavine had brought its A Game.

The Tigers, as they have all season, suffocated Ilwaco early, not allowing a single point in the first few minutes of the game while forcing several turnovers.

“I thought we came ready to play,” Napavine coach Shane Schutz said. “I thought our kids were really ready to go.”

That early momentum carried over through the rest of the game, as the Tigers cruised to a 65-27 blowout win to advance to the district semifinals.

The Tigers (19-2, 11-1 C2BL) wreaked havoc defensively throughout, forcing 30 turnovers and scoring 33 points off of those turnovers.

Grace Gall notched five steals, while Taylen Evander and Dakota Hamilton each tallied four.

“That’s what we hang our hat on,” Schutz said. “Forcing teams into hurried decisions. Hopefully, we’ll wear you out across 32 minutes.”

The Fishermen certainly seemed to tire as the game went along, as they shot just 4 for 25 from the floor in the second half.

Mikaila Warfield was Ilwaco's only source of offense, as she shot 9 for 19 and scored 23 points. The rest of the Fishermen combined to score four points while shooting 1 for 24 from the floor.

Napavine was much more balanced on offense, as ten different Tigers scored. Hayden Kaut led the way with 16 points and shot 7 for 12, while Keira O’Neill notched a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Evander scored eight points while also adding four assists, Jessie McCoy added seven points and hauled in seven rebounds, and Hannah Fay logged six points.

“You can’t rely on just one or two players,” Schutz said. “You’ve got to have multiple players with the ability to score, especially as the competition gets tougher and tougher.”

The Tigers will now turn their attention towards the semifinals, where they’ll take on Toutle Lake Tuesday, Feb. 13 at Kelso High School.

Napavine has already topped Toutle Lake twice in league play this season, and if they do it again next week, it will clinch a state tournament berth and a spot in the district championship game.

“Got Game 1 in, now we gotta get ready for Game 2,” Schutz said. “We have goals that we want to achieve … We don’t change anything. Just continue to work on things and get better.”