STEVENSON - High school basketball games are 32 minutes long. If the Fishermen's game at Stevenson had been only a second longer, Ilwaco would have been upset by the Bulldogs instead of claiming a 70-69 Trico League victory.
The home team's final shot of the contest bounced twice on the rim and then went in, but was ruled to have left the shooter's hand after the buzzer.
"Stevenson played well enough to beat us tonight," said coach Matt Blair after the game. "They controlled the tempo of the game more than we wanted them to. They ran, shot well and did everything they had to in order to beat us - we were fortunate to get the win on the road."
The Bulldogs were hot early, as they zipped to a 14-2 lead. Blair called a time out and had his team re-focus on the task at hand. By quarter's end, the Fishermen had closed to within 16-15 and pulled ahead at half time 35-33. "When we were down, the kids did not panic," Blair explained.
The pesky Bulldogs entered the final period with a 50-49 edge in the see-saw contest.
The Fishermen built a 10-point lead half way through the final period, but poor foul shooting down the stretch (0 of 6 the final two minutes and 8 of 20 for the game from the charity stripe) gave Stevenson a golden opportunity to upset the Fishermen.
Shane Padgett was "awesome" according to the coach, as he scored 15 points and pulled down 7 rebounds. Ryan Cadwell scored a season-high 23 points, grabbed 5 rebounds passed for 7 assists and stole the ball 5 times.
"He was all over the place," Blair praised.
The Fishermen had a whopping 18 assists for the game on their 22 field goals - statistical proof of their unselfish and effective offensive play.
Tommy Inserra, down from his usual scoring output with 3 points, contributed mightily by pulling down a personal season-high 11 rebounds and Tony Crete rolled in his top point total of the year with 13. Rocky Mirelez added 11 points to the Fishermen total. Jordan Williams was second to Cadwell with 4 assists and Ryan Gray chipped in 2 assists and 1 point.
The Fishermen out-rebounded the Dogs 28-19 and turnovers were even at 13 apiece in the run-and-gun paced game. Ilwaco shot 22 of 48 from the field for 46 percent, while the Bulldogs went 23 of 47 for an even better 49 percent success rate. Fortunately for the Fishermen, the Bulldog's 48th try was one second tardy.
The Fishermen are now 7-1 in the Trico and 12-4 overall and are solidly in second place in league. They host White Salmon Saturday, playing the first game of a double-header at 5:45 p.m. with the girls varsity game to follow, and then travel to Castle Rock Tuesday for more Trico action.
Ilwaco 15 20 14 21 - 70
Stevenson 16 17 17 19 - 69
Ilwaco - Cadwell 23, Padgett 15, Crete 13, Mirelez 11, Williams 4, Inserra 3, Gray 1, Jarod Schaak.
Stevenson - Rathgeber 8, Mathany 8, Robinson 16, Hulsey 4, Russell 14, Sams 19.