CASTLE ROCK - The Fishermen ran aground at Castle Rock Tuesday, dropping a 60-53 Trico League contest to the hot-shooting Rockets.
"They played the best defense a Castle Rock team has played against us in the past few years, and their guards knocked down shots," coach Matt Blair said of his opponent. "Their two big men combined for 26 points inside, and (guard Kyle) Fowler added 19 with some long jump shots."
Ilwaco had defeated the Rockets 49-35 in January, and the Fishermen held the trio of Fowler, James Gehring and Matt Wheeler to only 25 points in that victory.
"We played hard enough to win, but we didn't always play smart enough to win tonight. We had too many mental mistakes," Blair lamented.
The Fishermen were up 17-10 in the second period and appeared to be on their way to another win.
"We had a few cheap fouls at the wrong time, had a few turnovers and took a couple of questionable shots, and the next thing you know, Castle Rock was back in the game," the coach explained.
The Rockets trailed 24-21 at the half but had pulled ahead 40-38 to begin the fourth period. In the final eight minutes, the Fishermen were unable to make a run at the Rockets. Shane Padgett, Tony Crete, and Ryan Cadwell were all in double figures with 14, 12 and 10 points respectively.Rocky Mirelez added 9 and Jordan Williams 8 to the Fishermen point total.Tommy Inserra missed the contest because of a sprained ankle.
The Fishermen held their own with the taller Rockets, out-rebounding the home team 29-26, and both quintets turned the ball over 17 times. The Fishermen were tagged with 21 fouls and Castle Rock had 17 called on them.
Ilwaco was 20 of 48 for 42 percent from the field and made only 54 percent of their free tosses, going 7 of 13. The Fishermen relied on their outside shooting, sinking 6 three-pointers. The Rockets blasted home 21 of 45 of their attempts for 47 percent and were 15 of 21 from the line for a 71 percent success ratio.
The loss was only Ilwaco's second in their last 13 games and pushed them to 14-5 overall and 9-2 in the Trico following the game. The Fishermen were still perched in second place, a game behind Ridgefield.
The junior varsity lost a 54-44 decision to the Rockets to make them 4-8 on the year.
Ilwaco 12 12 14 15 - 53
Castle Rock 7 14 19 20 - 60
Scoring: Ilwaco-Padgett 14, Crete 12, Cadwell 10, Mirelez 9, Williams 8, Ryan Gray, Jarod Schaak.
Castle Rock-Fowler 19, Wheeler 16, James Gehring 10, Aaron Gehring 4, Swanson 2, Wenger 9.