Vikings' defense flips a switch in victory over Trojans


MOSSYROCK — While the first game of the Pe Ell-Mossyrock girls-boys doubleheader on Wednesday began as a defensive battle, the offenses stole the show early in the second game.

And in the boys matchup, it was a defensive adjustment that helped Mossyrock pull away, as the Vikings allowed just 16 points in the second half in a 63-40 win.

“Our defense was not good,” Mossyrock coach Tom Kelly said. “We changed it in the second half, and it was better.”

In the second half, Kelly said the Vikings deployed a new defense, one that involved more traps that led to multiple Pe Ell turnovers.

The Viking offense that had already been in a groove took full advantage, stretching their lead with a 14-2 run midway through the third quarter before pushing the lead to over 20 with an 8-2 lead early in the fourth.

“We started offensively really good,” Kelly said. “We were playing great in transition … We’re getting better, and we’re gonna be a good team. We’ve got all the makings.”

Zackary Munoz led the Vikings with 19 points, while Easton Kolb and Ethan Johnson both added 12.

While the Trojans (3-5, 3-2 1B Columbia Valley) were able to hang with the Vikings (7-4, 5-0 1B Columbia Valley) in the first half, Pe Ell coach Chris Phelps said that they didn’t handle the Mossyrock pressure well enough in the second half.

“That’s something we have to do a better job at,” Phelps said. “We finally calmed down, but at that point it was a little too late there.”

Phelps also commended the Mossyrock offense, noting that when an offense is operating at a high level, it can be tough to keep up with even without the turnovers.

“When you play a team like Mossyrock, you know they’re gonna shoot the ball well,” Phelps said. “And when they do, you’re in trouble.”

Carter Phelps finished as the only Trojan in double-figures with 11, while Calan McCarty and Blake Howard added seven each.

While the game was winding down, it was blemished by a substitution error that could alter the game's outcome. In the final minutes, both teams emptied their benches, and among those entering the game was Mossyrock’s Osmar Rodriguez.

Rodriguez had appeared briefly earlier in the varsity game, but more notably, he played in all four quarters of the JV matchup earlier in the day. Having entered his second quarter of action of the varsity game, that put him at six total quarters on the day, which violates a WIAA rule.

The Pe Ell bench noticed and promptly protested the game. After a review that’s yet to take place as of Wednesday night, Mossyrock could be forced to forfeit the game because of the rule violation. 

The Vikings are back on the court Thursday at Columbia Adventist, and the Trojans will look to snap a three-game losing streak at Naselle on Friday.