LaCENTER — Ilwaco took advantage of balanced scoring and stingy defense the middle two quarters to whip the Wildcats 58-51 in Trico League action in LaCenter Tuesday, Jan. 25. Ryan Kukula with 10, Patrick Whealdon with 13, Kyle Breckinridge with a dozen, and Karl Oman with 15 points led the Fishermen and Bobby Byrd pulled down 14 rebounds in the win.

“We played well in all phases of the game. We handled their press well and had only seven turnovers, we rebounded well, we shot foul shots well, and we shot them out of their zone defense in the first period,” Coach Kip Meinhardt praised. “We had four guys in double-figures in scoring and Bobby and Kasey Plato both rebounded well. After we held them to 12 points in the middle two periods the game was never in doubt.”

Ilwaco was up by as much as 50-35 in the fourth period when the Wildcats made a run at the end of the game on a bevy of long treys and some drives that resulted in buckets instead of charging fouls. Oman dished out five assists and Ryan Tapio added three and Kukula hauled down six boards and Plato had five off the bench. “We blocked out and rebounded well, even when we switched from man-to-man defense to a zone in the second period,” Meinhardt explained.

The Wildcats didn’t score in the third period for the first six and a half minutes and had but two field goals in the stanza. For the game both teams had a dozen two-point field goals and both made seven “three’s” and the Fishermen were 13-17 from the line for 76 percent, while LaCenter was 6-8 from the charity stripe. Ilwaco was buzzed for a dozen fouls to 16 for the home team.

For the season Ilwaco is shooting 83 percent from the free throw line according to statisticians Karen and Amy Veland. “There are reasons we are winning and taking care of the basketball to finish out games and making our foul shots down the stretch are among them,” Meinhardt concluded.

The Fishermen improve to 12-4 overall and 8-2 in the Trico, a half-game behind first place Kalama and a half-game ahead of third place Toledo. LaCenter falls to 8-9 on the year and is 3-8 in league play.  


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