ILWACO - Ilwaco hung on to edge White Salmon 54-53 in Trico hoop action at home Friday, running their league record to 3-0 and making them 8-3 overall. The game was tied eight times and featured 11 lead changes before senior point guard, David Thorne, sank five of six free throw attempts in the final 39 seconds to provide just enough scoring to ice the victory.
Ironically, the Fishermen made their first four foul shots and five of their last six, but in between was a horrendous 7-28, including stretches of 0-9 and 2-8 earlier in the final period.
"Our guys played hard throughout, but we missed a ton of layups and we continue to struggle from the line," coach Matt Blair said. "A win is a win and we've managed to play well enough to be on top in our last two games."
Despite their shooting woes, Ilwaco, as it usually does in the friendly confines of Aase Gym, came out like gangbusters, building a 11-4 lead on scoring from Ryan Cadwell, Andy Hudkins and Dustin Starr. Twice Kyle Kaino rejected shots at the rim and the tilt was beginning to look like a route.
The Bruins scoring from 6-foot 5-inch Cory Lampe and Adam Neff, using an ultra-quick first step, boosted the White Salmon team to a 16-17 lead early in the second quarter. Two Rocky Mirelez "threes" and Kaino's hustling layup at the half-time buzzer were about the only answers to White Salmon's onslaught, as the Fishermen hit the doldrums in the period.
The third quarter saw Hudkins score eight points, most from the inside, as the Bruins slowed the pace. The majority of their squad was in foul trouble, so White Salmon resorted to a zone defense. Ilwaco employed a full-court aggressively trapping press to garner several steals that led to easy buckets from Hudkins, Starr, and a three-pointer by Kaino.
The final stanza included Mirelez lining home another "three" and three more baskets from Hudkins - one on a nifty turnaround jumper from the foul line. This gave Ilwaco a 47-41 lead with 3:25 left in the contest. The scrappy Bruins came back to within 49-48 with 39 ticks remaining on the clock.
Cadwell corralled two rebounds and Hudkins wrestled for three more in the final going, allowing Thorne the opportunity to hit on his foul shots. Neff hit a three-pointer with time waning and fell to the floor, feigning a foul, but the referees wouldn't buy the performance and Thorne held the ball as time ran out on the proverbially "ugly win" for the locals.
Ilwaco held a 38-33 rebounding edge and had 12 turnovers to 17 for White Salmon. Those ten extra possessions, coupled with 38 free throw attempts to the Bruins 12 should have indicated a big win for the Fishermen, had they not shot 42 percent from the line and 36 percent from the field (17-47). White Salmon committed 28 fouls to 18 for Ilwaco and was 7-12 (58 percent) from the line and 20-46 (43 percent) from the field.
Hudkins had 18, Kaino 10, and Mirelez 9 points to pace the Fishermen. Kaino and Thorne dished out three assists each and Thorne swiped the ball four times from the team from Columbia High School. Starr grabbed 12 rebounds and Hudkins had 10 boards to lead Ilwaco.
The Fishermen visited improving Castle Rock Tuesday and will travel to Woodland for a game on Thursday, both being Trico-League tilts.
White Salmon 9 15 11 18 -53
Ilwaco 13 10 15 16 -54
Ilwaco - 18, Kaino 10, Mirelez 9, Starr 8, Thorne 6, Cadwell 3, Rogers, Ellsworth.
White Salmon - Neff 12, Carlock 10, Crause 9, Shrum 9, Lampe 9, Cowen 2, Lovrin 2, Hunsaker, Bryan.