ILWACO - LaCenter hung on for a 66-50 Trico League victory over Ilwaco in the season-finale for both squads at Aase Gymnasium Friday. The Wildcats scored the first 15 points of the game, Ilwaco closed to within 47-43 in the fourth period, but then LaCenter made 10 of their final 11 foul shots to seal the victory. The Fishermen dropped to 4-8 in league play, finishing sixth in the Trico. LaCenter ended at 6-6 and in a tie for fourth, but did not earn a district berth from the Trico because Rochester swept their season series.
The first 4:40 of the contest was all Wildcats as a flashy fast break and a trio of three-point shots gave them a 15-0 lead before Colten Chalker sank a pair of free tosses to break the ice for the Fishermen. A three-ball from Matt Kaino was Ilwaco's only field goal in 15 attempts in the initial quarter.
Trailing early in the second half 33-14, Ilwaco began to go to work at both ends of the court. Kaino, Anthony Wirkkala, Paul Blaylock and Colten Chalker brought the Fishermen to within 35-29 as the home team enjoyed a 15-2 run in the third period with three minutes to play.
A four-point play off a long "three" and a foul shot and two more free tosses from the Wildcats put them up 41-29 just 60 seconds later. Not to be denied in the final period, Kaino hit a jump shot in the key with five-minutes remaining in the contest after he had tossed in an acrobatic and off-balance jumper seconds before to bring his Ilwaco mates to within 47-43.
LaCenter again pulled a four-point play out of their hat to double the lead and the Fishermen would get no closer. Ironically Ilwaco had one four-point play the entire season and up until the second half their opponents had not turned the trick even once all year.
On Senior Night, Coach Paul Jarrett started Cody and Colten Chalker, Junior Talancon, Wirkkala and Blaylock - the five seniors on the Fishermen squad. Cody Chalker scored two points, Colten dropped in seven, Talancon had three rebounds and two steals, Wirkkala responded with 14 points and 12 rebounds and Blaylock handed out four assists and popped in five points in his final game at Aase Gymnasium.
Hobbled Fishermen upset Chinooks 49-41
ILWACO - "Amazing, amazing, amazing," Casey Stengel said of the 1962 Mets in baseball and the same could be said of the Ilwaco boys' basketball team Tuesday. An injured and battered Fishermen quintet put forth an utterly amazing effort to knock off Kalama, one of the two top teams in the Trico League, 49-41 at an energized Aase Gymnasium.
Coach Paul Jarrett said, "I kept waiting for Kalama to take off on a 10-0 run on us, but I'm so proud of how our how hard our guys played tonight." The Fishermen had three players with slightly sprained ankles and four more coming off bouts with bronchitis and flu-like symptoms, but fans would never have known as Ilwaco battled from tip off to final buzzer for every loose ball and every rebound.
Jordan DeSimone began the scoring with a three-ball and then dished an assist to Cody Chalker. Chalker later passed to Anthony Wirkkala for another hoop to put Ilwaco up 7-0. The Fishermen stretched the first period lead to 13-4 before three different Chinooks, who were tied for first place in the loss column coming into the fray, hit on jump shots to close the gap to 13-10 at the end of one frame.
Matt Kaino answered two "three's" from Kalama Robby Sanders with a jumper of his own to tie the game at 16-16 and later Colten Chalker scored on a twisting layup to end the first half with the Fishermen holding the Chinooks by the tail 24-20. Kaino scored two field goals, Colten Chalker a deuce and Paul Blaylock knocked down a jump shot in the third quarter as Kalama came back to knot the contest at 32-32 with eight minutes to play.
Blaylock's three-point shot and a pair of Wirkkala free throws gave the Fishermen a 38-37 lead at the 4:46 mark after the contest had seen nine lead changes and five ties. From there, Jarrett's 1-2-2 zone defense and Kalama's poor decision-making turned the tide to favor the downriver boys.
"We've tried to run a 1-2-2 zone during the year, but until tonight we didn't do that well with it," Jarrett explained. "Because we are so banged up and weak from being sick I had our guards cover the corners and kept our two taller players (Wirkkala and Kaino) inside to rebound." The ploy worked to perfection as the Chinooks made but one free throw over the next four and one-half minutes and their non-scorers continually forced up shots while their leading point getters watched in the wings.
Meanwhile the Fishermen sank six straight free tosses and were nine of 10 from the line down the stretch. When Kaino found Colten Chalker in the lane for a chip shot the improbable lead was up to 49-38. All-league center Matt Trautman scored only two points after pouring in 20 in the two team's first meeting and high-scoring Sanders and Nick Schmit didn't tally a point in the final period as the Chinooks offense swam ingloriously downstream as Ilwaco won the last quarter 17-9.
"We had to slow things down tonight because of our health and injury situation and the kids did a great job of executing," Jarrett said. "Every one of our guys played hard and smart. Our rebounding was big as we stressed giving them only one shot." The Fishermen, though clearly out-sized and out-muscled, controlled the boards by a whopping 44-23 margin, although they lost the turnover tussle 20 to 13.
In the first meeting the Chinooks shot 60 percent from the field for the first three periods, but Ilwaco's defense and slower tempo held the visitors to 17 of 50 for a meager 34 percent from the field. They were just three of 10 from the line. The Fishermen also made 17 field goals, but in 44 tries (39 percent) and they were 65 percent from the charity stripe, sinking 13 of 20 attempts.
Wirkkala was high-point man with 17 and also pulled down 15 rebounds, logging a stellar job in the paint after coming off several days in the sick bay. Kaino also had a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards. Six different Fishermen each had an assist in the contest. Colten Chalker scored eight points, Cody Chalker two, Blaylock six, DeSimone three and Kolby Kirby added two free throws to the winning ledger.
Kaino, who practiced only once after spraining his ankle a week ago, said, "This was a big win for us. It showed what we could do." Cody Chalker added, "This win means a lot to us. We still have a long shot to make district if White Salmon can upset Rochester. I'm up to guarding anybody man-to-man, but the zone worked great for us tonight."
"I was hoping we would be playing at this level a month ago, but this was a big win for the guys," Jarrett said. Ilwaco is now 8-11 overall and 4-7 in the Trico, while Kalama falls to 8-3 in league and faces the possibility of finishing third behind Stevenson and Castle Rock and having to play either Toledo or Tenino in the opening round of district next Wednesday.
Kalama 10 10 12 9 --41
Ilwaco 13 11 8 17 --49
Ilwaco - Paul Blaylock 6, Anthony Wirkkala 17, Junior Talancon, Jack Whealdon, Matt Kaino 11, Jordan DeSimone 3, Cody Chalker 2, Colten Chalker 8, Kolby Kirby 2
Kalama - Nick Schmit 9, Jeff Vossen 4, Billy Arn 2, Bryce Pollock, Robby Sanders 13, Brandon Walker 9, Chase Berry 2, Matt Trautman 2, Matt Pollock