Tigers pull away from Riverhawks, Grose inches closes to 2,000


TOLEDO — Lewis County has waited nearly two decades for another 2,000-point scorer. 

It can wait four more days.

Napavine’s James Grose came into Friday 33 points shy of the mark — not exactly close, but also completely within the realm of possibility for him. Four quarters later, and the senior is still chasing, but well within arms reach, after adding 26 points to his career total in a 71-46 win for the Tigers over Toledo.

“He’s not worried about it, and we’re not worried about it,” Napavine coach Rex Stanley said. “Hopefully, we’ve got 10-plus games left.”

For a half, Napavine had bigger things to worry about, with the Riverhawks (13-6, 6-5 C2BL) giving the Tigers (17-0, 10-0 C2BL) everything they could handle. Toledo was a couple of missed layups away from leading after a quarter, and continued to surge in the second, going up by as many as five points at one point.

On one side of the floor, Toledo kept Napavine from getting into the Tigers’ favorite high-paced style of game, limiting turnovers and only giving up three transition buckets in the first half. On the other end, the Riverhawks punished Napavine whenever the Tigers went down low to the tune of eight blocks.

“You’ve got to play with reckless abandon,” Toledo coach Grady Fallon said. “You’ve got nothing to lose. They’re the ones that have the pressure on them, the bulls-eye on their back.”

With a shade under four minutes left in the second quarter, though, Grose hit a 3-pointer — his first of the game — and everything changed. Napavine ended the half of a 14-4 run, then opened the third quarter with a 12-1 spell to completely shift momentum in its favor.

“We’re getting to the time of the year where these things aren’t going to be wrapped up in the first 10 minutes,” Stanley said. “I was really happy with our second half. We came out, we responded… These are going to be tough, and you’ve got to be tough and persevere and keep playing.”

By the end of the third quarter, the lead was 17, and it only took three minutes into the fourth to get it up to 20.

Behind Grose, Jarin Prather finished with 17 points and four assists. Karsen Denault had 12 points, 14 rebounds, four steals, three assists and a pair of blocks, and Cael Stanley canned a pair of 3-pointers en route to a 10-point night.

“This is a real determined group,” Rex Stanley said. “It’s a veteran team. A lot of these guys have played three, four years of varsity, and they’re locked and loaded for this postseason run.”

Kaven Winters had 22 points to lead Toldo, finishing 3 of 4 from beyond the arc, but he was the only Riverhawk in double figures. Rogan Stanley and Cooper Fallon both had seven rebounds.

Napavine will wrap up its season next week with two league home matchups, starting with a rivalry date against Adna on Tuesday. Toledo will end its own slate against the two teams above it in the C2BL standings, beginning with a road trip to Toutle Lake on Tuesday.